Breaking: French Capital Placed on Highest Level COVID Alert

Paris is to be placed on maximum COVID-19 alert as Prime Minister Jean Castex said there had been no improvement on isolating the virus.

Bars will be forced to close for two weeks from Tuesday and restaurants will have to put in place strict new sanitary protocols to stay open, the prime minister’s office said. Prime Minister Jean Castex’s office also said there had been no improvement in the Paris region since the capital passed all three of the government’s criteria for being put on the highest level of alert mid-last week.

The extra reinforced restrictions will take effect from this Tuesday. “These measures, indispensable in the fight to curb the virus’ spread, will apply to Paris and the three departments immediately surrounding it, for a duration of two weeks,” the PM’s office said.

For a city to be placed on maximum alert, the incidence rate must exceed 100 infections per 100,000 among elderly inhabitants and 250 per 100,000 among the general public, while at least 30% of intensive care beds are reserved for coronavirus patients.

Working from home should be prioritised “now more than ever” in the Paris area and university lecture halls should be no more than half full, Castex’s office said in a statement.

A week ago, restaurants and bars were shut down for a fortnight in Marseille, the southern city at the epicentre of the second wave, prompting protests and an unsuccessful legal challenge.

On Sunday, France reported 12,565 new cases of coronavirus, at the same time 893 COVID-19 patients had been admitted into intensive care over the past week.

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Tony Winterburn

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