PARIS, France (CelebrityAccess) — President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday ordered France into its third nationwide lockdown as the country grapples with a new surge of Covid-19 infections that has threatened to overwhelm the nation’s medical system in hard-hit areas.
Describing new, more contagious mutations of the coronavirus “an epidemic within the epidemic,” Macron ordered all schools to be closed until the end of April. Lockdown measures also include travel restrictions which limit people to within 10km of their homes and a curfew for non-essential travel from 7PM to 6AM has been put in place.
Nonessential businesses, including concert venues, bars, restaurants, cinemas, and theatres will remain closed.
In a televised address to the nation on Thursday, Macron said the growing presence of the virus left him no choice but to impose the lockdown.
“If we are choosing to close down the whole country it’s because no area of the country is spared,” Macron said. “Everywhere the virus is spreading faster and faster and everywhere, hospitalizations are rising.”
Covid-19 has surged in France in recent weeks, with the daily infection rate more than doubling since February to almost 40,000 new cases a day. The nation’s intensive care units are at capacity with more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients, according to French health officials and France is on track for a deadlier spring than the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020.
The surge in infections has been compounded by a slow rollout of vaccines and so far, only 12% of the population has been inoculated, according to CNBC. Macron said people in their 60s will be eligible for the vaccine by mid-April, and those in their 50s by Mid-May.
A goal of seeing 30 million adults vaccinated by mid-June remained the target, Macron said.