France plans to tighten evening curfews in areas where coronavirus cases are acute, Health Minister Olivier Veran said late Tuesday.
There is an 8 pm to 6 am curfew currently in place across the country. People are only allowed to leave their residence for a valid reason, such as commuting to work or medical appointments. Simple walks, shopping or sports are forbidden.
At the beginning of January the curfew will move forward to 6 pm for especially hard-hit regions, Veran said.
The situation is currently particularly serious in eastern regions that border Germany – Grand-Est and Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes – and in the Franche-Comte and Alpes-Maritimes areas, the minister told broadcaster France 2.
“We have been at a plateau for three weeks, with about 15,000 new infections per day,” he said. There are significant regional differences in the country – the east, for example, is more affected than the west, he noted.
France’s shuttered restaurants and bars are scheduled to open on January 20 but that date appears likely to be pushed back.
The country, with its 67 million inhabitants, has been hit hard by the pandemic. From the end of October to mid-December, a strict lockdown was in place across the country.
The lockdown was relaxed and the evening curfew introduced. Stores were allowed to reopen at the end of November.