"The epidemic is considerably escalating". Strict lockdown in 16 French departments, curfew postponed to 7 p.m. everywhere in France... Jean Castex addressed the current measures instated in France and the Covid-19 epidemic situation at a new press brief, held this Thursday March 18, 2021. The Prime Minister made the most of it to announce new restrictions.
First, the Prime Minister confirmed a strict 24/7 lockdown was to be instated starting this Friday March 19, 2021 at midnight for four weeks in Île-de-France (8 departments), and in Hauts-de-France (5 departments), as well as in Alpes-Maritimes, Seine-Maritime, and Eure. Starting this Saturday, the entire France has to comply with a new curfew, postponed to 7 p.m..
Yet, the Prime Minister confirmed that during this new lockdown, restrictions "will not resume rules" experienced during the previous lockdowns. Furthermore, "schools remain open" in all departments in question. "The territorialized strategy shall be kept", Castex adds. Moreover, "inter-regional trips are banned, excluding pressing and professional matters" in all 16 departments involved in this third lockdown. As for trips, Castex announced that from this moment on, "it will be possible to get out to work out, take a breath of fresh air excluding time restriction but provided derogatory trip certificate, within a 10-km perimeter".
As for restrictions that have to be complied with in Île-de-France and in Paris, the Prime Minister detailed the new measures. "Sole stores selling first-necessity goods will be allowed to open" given we "shall limit risks of meeting people and contacts in closed places". In addition to palces first assessed "necessary", music and books are now included in this group.
Companies are encouraged to "use working from home as much as possible [...] at least 4 days in 5", insisting on the fact that today, the system is "still far from being reached".
As for the duration of these new measures and lockdown, Castex claims: "These measures aim at applying on the four coming weeks, the necessary time to make them have an effective impact, excluding in the event considerable improvements are noticed before".
As for vaccination, the PM confirms that "to date, 5.7 million people have been vaccinated", reminding that "we've reached one of the highest vaccination pace in the EU".