Daily US Times: The government of France has imposed tighter coronavirus restrictions including the closure of restaurants and bars in four more cities with high infection rates. The measures were taken in a time when a number of European countries see a surge in cases.
The cities of Lille, Grenoble, Lyon, and Saint-Etienne will become zones of maximum alert from Saturday.
Restaurants and bars will have to close, as they did in Paris earlier this week and Marseille last month.
The measures were announced as the country saw a near-record 18,129 new cases.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran said at a news conference on Thursday: “The situation has deteriorated in several metropolises in recent days. Every day, more and more people are infected.”
France’s maximum-alert level comes into force when at least 30% of intensive care beds are reserved for Covid-19 patients and the infection rate in a locality exceeds 250 infections per 100,000 people.
On Thursday, hospitals in the Paris region moved into emergency mode, as coronavirus patients took up almost half of intensive-care beds.
France’s coronavirus situation mirrors that of other European countries, including Poland, Ukraine, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, which all reported record increases in daily cases on Thursday.
Even Germany, a relative success story of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, has started to see what its health minister has called a worrying rise in cases.
A large proportion of the rise in Covid-19 cases globally is being driven by outbreaks in Europe, South-East Asia and the Americas.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases , with the total rising by 338,779 in 24 hours.
You may read: Masks made mandatory outdoors across Italy