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France to close schools for 3 weeks, ban domestic travel for month as virus surges

Virus Outbreak France
Posted at 12:17 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 15:33:09-04

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a three-week nationwide school closure and a month-long domestic travel ban in an effort to fight the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

In a televised address to the nation Wednesday night, Macron said efforts are needed as “the epidemic is accelerating.”

Additionally, Macron said that restrictions already applying in the Paris are and others regions will be extended to the whole country for at least a month. Those restrictions allow resident to go outside for leisure, but only within a 10-kilometer (6 miles) radius from their homes and without gathering.

Also, most non-essential shops are closed down.

“If we stay united in the coming weeks ... then we will see light at the end of the tunnel,” Macron said.

The moves are a departure from the government’s policy in recent months, which has focused on regionalized restrictions. School closures in particular had been seen as a very last resort.

The actions come after Paris hospital officials warned the they’d have to start refusing patients due to lack of space.

The total number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care in France surged past 5,000 on Tuesday, the first time in 11 months the figure has been that high.

Previous nationwide lockdowns in France were in March and October 2020.