French PM raises specter of reconfinement as COVID-19 cases rise

PARIS (Reuters) - France's prime minister warned on Thursday that the government could be forced to reconfine areas if the number of COVID-19 cases did not improve in the coming weeks and defended tough restrictions taken on Wednesday. 'It's a race against time,' Jean Castex said on France 2 television.

Reuters September 25, 2020 02:10:48 IST
French PM raises specter of reconfinement as COVID-19 cases rise

French PM raises specter of reconfinement as COVID19 cases rise

PARIS (Reuters) - France's prime minister warned on Thursday that the government could be forced to reconfine areas if the number of COVID-19 cases did not improve in the coming weeks and defended tough restrictions taken on Wednesday.

"It's a race against time," Jean Castex said on France 2 television. "The public must be attentive and prudent. If we don't act we could find ourselves in a situation similar to spring."

When asked whether France was heading towards a new confinement, Castex said the government did not want to, but left the door open if the situation worsened.

"It could mean reconfinement," he said. "The measures we have taken are to anticipate."

Health authorities reported 16,096 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, blowing away the previous record of 13,498 and setting a fourth all-time high of daily additional infections in eight days.

The soaring infection rate and, with it, the renewed strain on the French hospital system have prompted the government to announce extra restrictive measures on Wednesday, mainly in big cities, to contain the disease.

It ordered cafes and restaurants in Marseille to shut for two weeks and closed all gymnasiums from Saturday, after placing the city and surrounding region on the Mediterranean coast on the maximum alert level for the spread of the virus.

Tougher measures were also announced in Paris and in 10 other cities, including closing cafes and restaurants at 10 p.m. (2100 GMT).

The move has angered local politicians who fear the economic fallout and argue that the government has panicked in its decision making process.

"The hour is serious and we must act. We have to hope that the virus won't last 30 years and that we'll find a vaccine," Castex said.

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.