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Paris placed on maximum COVID-19 alert level.

Image Credit: AFP

The city of Paris and three surrounding counties will close as from Tuesday, in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. On Sunday, the Prime Minister Jean Castex’s office said that the government saw no improvement in the number of cases, leading to a decision to place Paris on maximum COVID alert as from Monday, as the number of cases continued to increase.

Last Saturday, France reported 16,972 cases, the highest daily number of infections since the pandemic began. On Sunday, France reported a lower number of cases at 15,565. Around 893 patients were admitted to intensive care units in a week. The Health Agency ARS released figures showing that new coronavirus cases remained above 250 per 100,000.

The criteria to reach maximum COVID alert are :

  • More than 100 infections per 100,000 among the elderly
  • 250 infections per 100,000 in the general population
  • More than 30% of ICU beds occupied with COVID-19 patients.

The ARS director for Paris, Aurelien Rousseau, said

There is no justification for denial. The numbers are what they are, and they are weighing heavily.

Aurelien Rousseau

A statement from Mr. Castex’s office said,

These measures, indispensable in the fight to curb the virus’ spread, will apply to Paris and the three departments immediately surrounding it, for a duration of two weeks.

Mr. Castex Office

Mr. Castex office also suggested that people should be working from home as it is important ‘now more than ever’ in Paris. The office also ordered for University halls to be remain half full. The Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin acknowledges that the measures are ‘tough’ for everyone.

We are French, we love to drink, to eat, to live and to kiss each other. But we’re also doing this because the people want us to.

Mr. Gerald Darmanin

On 26th Septmeber, in Marseille, bars, restaurants and gyms were closed for two weeks, after cases spiked. Museums, cinemas, theatres and other public venues were also closed, unless they implement strict anti-viral measures. The city was considered to be the epicentre of the second wave. People protested on the closure of restaurants and bars.

The Paris Mayor, Anne Hidalgo said that the situation in Paris was ‘very serious’. The Mayor will announce more specific measures to be imposed on Tuesday, on Monday morning. All bars will be closed as from Tuesday for two weeks, but restaurants and Bistros that serve both food and alcohol, would be allowed to remain open given that they register the contact details of every customer, and shut the restaurant or bistro at 10pm. These new sanitary measures have been implemented in an attempt to prevent shutting completely restaurants and bistros. The employer organisation, UMIH which represents hotels, bars, cafes, restaurants, brasseries and night clubs, announced that 15% of France 220,000 establishments face bankruptcy, due to the coronavirus restrictions. Up to 250,000 employees face the risk of unemployment, if the situation worsens in this sector.

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