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Schools in France closed for three weeks; one month – long domestic travel ban also imposed

PARIS: Schools in France have been closed for three weeks due to the rapid spread of COVID-19. French President Emmanuel Macron has also announced a month – long domestic travel ban.

Macron said in a televised speech that greater efforts are needed as “the epidemic is accelerating”. France introduced strict measures as patients flocked to hospitals. The virus situation and the new measures will be discussed in Parliament today.

“We’re going to close nursery, elementary and high schools for three weeks,” Macron said. He also mentioned that a national curfew will be enforced from 7 pm to 6 pm.

Macron said the restrictions already in place in the Paris region and other parts of northern and eastern France would be extended across the country for at least a month. Under these restrictions, people can go out in their spare time, but should be limited to a distance of 10 km from their homes. People should avoid gathering, and non-essential businesses should be shut.

The current government’s move is a change from its recent policy of focusing on local restrictions. “The key factor in our decision-making remains the situation in hospitals,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.

Previously, national lockdowns were announced in March and October 2020.

The number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU in France rose to more than 5,000 on Tuesday. This is the first time in 11 months that so many patients have been admitted. The President said the number of ICU beds will be increased from the current 7,000 to 10,000 in the coming days.

Macron is also considering both political and health considerations ahead of the 2022 presidential election. A nationwide curfew has been in place in France since January. All restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters and museums in France have been closed since October.

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