Around 20 million French people spent their first night under curfew on Saturday as the Ministry of Health reported more than 32,000 newly confirmed cases of Covid-19, the highest single-day count since the start of the pandemic.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. curfews came into effect in the Paris region and eight other major cities affecting nearly a third of the country’s population.
People need a certificate for permitted activities, such as traveling to or from work, for medical care, to visit a dependent relative, or to walk a dog.
>> Parisians enjoy last night before Covid-19 curfew takes effect
Those who do not comply will risk a fine of 135 euros ($ 160), while repeat offenders may be fined up to 3,750 euros ($ 4,400).
About 12,000 police officers and gendarmes in addition to municipal police teams will be deployed to enforce the curfew.
The French government says the curfew is necessary to stem the rise in new cases of coronavirus that crossed the 150,000 mark across Europe on Friday.
The French Ministry of Health reported a record number of newly confirmed cases on Saturday at. 32,427, one day after reporting 25,086.
The total number of infections since the start of the year is now at 867,197, while the total number of deaths is at 33,392, which is an increase of 90 from Friday.
No travel restrictions
Restaurant owners, for whom the second part of the evening constitutes an important part of the turnover, have complained about the curfew.
“Closing at 9pm will have no impact (on the epidemic). They are not attacking it in the right way,” said Gerard, manager of a restaurant in Toulouse.
But the government says a curfew is the only way to avoid another crippling shutdown that will inflict greater damage on the economy.
The curfew, which comes just before a two-week school holiday, contains no travel restrictions, giving the prospect of a large number of families fleeing cities to the country.
Scheduled to last at least four weeks, the curfew could be extended if the epidemic shows no signs of abating. President Emmanuel Macron has already mentioned the date of December 1st.
( Jowharwith AFP, REUTERS)