France Faces Renewed Lockdown ‘Within Days’, JDD Says

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France is set to go back into lockdown “within days” amid concerns over a new wave of contaminations driven by the U.K. variant of the coronavirus, Journal du Dimanchesaid, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the matter.

A decision is imminent, JDD wrote, saying French President Emmanuel Macron could announce the lockdown — the country’s third — on Wednesday night. It could start before the end of the week and last at least three weeks, according to the paper.

Officials at the Health Ministry weren’t immediately available for comment to Bloomberg. Health Minister Olivier Veransaid on Thursday that a decision on a new lockdown or tighter curbs could be made within days or weeks.

France passed the threshold of 3 million Covid-19 cases on Friday. Contaminations driven by the U.K. variant of the virus — a highly contagious and potentially deadlier strain first identified in Britain late last year — will probably surge in coming weeks in the country, scientists havewarned. The current curbs in place include include a 6 p.m. curfew and closed restaurants, cinemas, museums and gyms.

France’s second lockdown, which began in late October, reversed a spike in Covid-19 cases. However, hospitalizations and intensive-care patients remain more than five times higher than in August, putting pressure on the health-care system.

In the event of a new lockdown, schools would remain open, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told JDD.

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