French President Emmanuel Macron has extended light lockdown from 19 areas to all over the country for the next four weeks amid the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lockdown would be imposed from April 3, Macron announced at a televised address on Wednesday (local time). On Tuesday, the country reported 30,702 new COVID-19 cases and over 1000 fatalities due to the pandemic. Confirmed Covid-19 cases per day in France have doubled since February to nearly 40,000.
Macron widened the light lockdown measures currently imposed on a third of the French population - including the Paris region - to all of mainland France, France 24 reported. "We don't have to lock ourselves in but we need to limit our contacts," he said.
From Saturday evening and for a period of four weeks, travel will be limited everywhere in France to a radius of 10 km from home for daily outings. During curfew hours from 7 pm to 6 am, or for trips exceeding 10 kilometres, a certificate will be required, said Macron in a televised address to the nation.
"We tried to push back this day for as long as possible - but unfortunately it has now arrived," the president continued.
France has reported over 45 lakh coronavirus cases so far. The country has also reported over 95,000 deaths.
Macron also announced a closure of all schools and daycare centres for three weeks until April 26. Yet he also justified his policy of keeping them open since the end of the first lockdown in spring 2020, which has received intensifying criticism over recent weeks: "School is non-negotiable," he said.
Macron emphasised that jabs are the route out of the nightmare: "Thanks to vaccines, the end of the crisis is on the horizon."
France had given out a vaccine dose to just 11.75 per cent of its population by March 29 - compared to 45.19 per cent in the UK, where the vaccine programme has raced ahead.
( With inputs from ANI )
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