France announces partial lockdown in Northern Regions over surge in COVID-19 cases

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France will introduce a lockdown over the weekend in the northern coastal city of Dunkerque and the communes of Hauts-de-Flandre to head off a spike in COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Wednesday.

“A confinement regime will be introduced over the weekend, from Friday evening to Monday morning, in Dunkerque and the communes of Hauts-de-Flandre, where some 250,000 people live,” Veran said, adding that the measures will take effect from February 27-28.
Under new restrictions, people will be allowed to leave their homes only to buy basic necessities and see the doctor.

On Monday, the prefect of France’s southeastern department of Alpes-Maritimes, Bernard Gonzalez, also announced additional confinement measures for at least two weeks in coastal cities in a bid to contain a surge in new COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, a nationwide curfew from 06:00 p.m. to 06:00 a.m. local time (from 17:00 to 05:00 GMT) remains in force in France. Museums, theaters, cinemas, restaurants and bars remain closed.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, France has confirmed more than 3.6 million cases of the coronavirus, including over 85,000 fatalities, according to the country’s health authorities.

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