The French already knew there was a possibility of a curfew in Paris and other major cities, but even so hearing it from the President, Emmanuel Macron, was a shock, says the British broadcaster BBC.
From 9 pm until 6 am, anyone walking on the street in nine cities including Paris, Marseille and Lille, must present a reason for force majeure, or will be fined. The measure covers more than 22 million inhabitants, almost a third of the country.
Among other measures, it was also forbidden for more than six people to join the house (with the exception of large families), something the Prime Minister had said days ago that he could not do.
The measure goes into effect this weekend and will last at least four weeks. Macron warned that he could continue if the infection numbers do not drop. Wednesday was the third time in six days that France had more than 20,000 infections. The purpose, he said Macron, is to reduce the number of new daily cases to around 3000.
Meanwhile, the French police searched the home of Health Minister Olivier Véran and health officials, as part of an investigation into how the Government managed the pandemic, which also includes Prime Minister Jean Castex, and his predecessor, Édouard Philippe.
On Wednesday, Germany also announced that bars and restaurants in high-risk areas will have to close earlier. Despite having a comparatively better situation, the number of new cases continues to grow and last Thursday reached 6638 new infections, a record since the beginning of the pandemic.
Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the leaders of the governments of the federal states to decide further restrictions, the first time since March that there has been a face-to-face meeting. “Let’s see if what we decide today is enough,” said Angela Merkel after nine hours of meeting. “My concern has not gone away.”
In other large European cities, bars, cafes and restaurants are either slowing down or closing down: the Netherlands, for example, has closed restaurants and cafes as part of a partial confinement; and in Catalonia, bars and restaurants will not open for two weeks from this Thursday.
In London, pubs they will remain open, but the authorities advise against the use of public transport, as well as the meeting of people who do not live together in closed environments. Therefore, there is an expectation that these places will not have many customers.
In Ireland, the Government has decided to simple prohibition of visits to the home, excluding cases of those who will take care of children or for reasons of compassion.