France imposes 9pm curfew on 18million people as daily Covid cases reach 26,000
The French government will impose a strict 9pm curfew on 18 million people in an attempt to fight the country's second wave of Covid-19 infections.
A strict State of Emergency measure will be applied to Paris, Lille, Rouen, Saint-Etienne, Toulouse, Lyon, Grenoble, Aix-en-Provence and Montpellier from this Saturday.
For four weeks, all bars, restaurants, theatres and similar businesses will have to close between the hours of 9pm and 6am.
However President Emmanuel Macron has said there will be no second national lockdown like there was in the spring.
"We're in a second wave," he said in an interview on national television.
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"We have to react."
The first French State of Emergency was declared in March in response to mounting coronavirus cases, and now it will be re-introduced this weekend.
France recorded 26,896 new cases of Covid-19 in 24 hours on Saturday, a record since widespread testing began.
During curfew hours, businesses will close and citizens of the affected areas will not be able to visit friends' houses although they will still be permitted to make essential journeys.
Anyone caught violating the curfew will be fined 135 Euros (£120).
Family gatherings will be limited to no more than six people, but there will be no restrictions on public transport and people will still be able to travel between regions without restrictions.
President Macron said France has not yet lost control of the coronavirus, but said the country was in a "worrying situation".
"It is equally worrying in other European countries, such as Germany which is also taking restrictive measures," he said.
"Spain and the Netherlands are also in a very worrying situation, and have taken very restrictive measures in recent days."
France's daily tally of new cases has risen above 20,000 three times in the last six days, including Saturday's grim record.
More than 32,000 people have now died from the virus in France.
President Macron said the aim of the curfew is to reduce the current rate to about 3,000 a day, as well as relieving the burden on hospitals.
"We will get through this," he said.
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