France set for nationwide 18:00 curfew in an effort to stop Covid-19

France withdraws its curfew Covid-19 until Saturday 18:00 in a race against time to vaccinate the population and stop the spread of the disease.

A curfew at 6pm will be extended to the whole of France “from this Saturday and for at least 15 days”, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday. A curfew had already been in place in most of the country, with several regions – including in France’s hard-hit east – already below the 18:00 mark.

People will still be able to travel after the curfew for work, medical appointments and other urgent reasons, but stores will have to close their doors at 6pm, more bad news for retailers a few days before their sales begin.

Restaurants must also stop doing business, even as takeaways, at earlier times. France’s cafes and restaurants are already closed to seated customers and will be open until mid-February.

“We are constantly trying to adapt and they are still putting obstacles in the way,” Benjamin Nieto, owner of the Chez Lucien restaurant in the Croix-Rousse district of Lyon, told AFP.

“Many people do not stop work at 6pm, let alone before, and will not be able to pick up food. It’s a little disappointing,” he said.

Faced with the threat of new and more contagious variants of coronavirus, the government is trying to reduce social contacts early in the evening, when some people meet for an apéro, a drink and a nib that is popular in France.

Castex does not rule out the introduction of a new lock-in “if we notice a sharp deterioration in the epidemic” despite the previous curfew, he said. A new prison would be France’s third since last March.

The number of Covid-19 cases in France is still high with 21,217 confirmed in 24 hours on Friday, and about 20,000 new cases were counted every day since the beginning of the year, far from the 5,000 that the government said they hoped for in mid-December. .

( Jowharwith AFP)