Three additional areas of France have been placed on ‘lockdown light’ bringing the total number to 19 départements subject to extra restrictions amid a worrying rise in case numbers.
On March 19th, the départements of Aisne, Nord, Oise, Pas-de-Calais, Somme, Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise, Alpes-Maritimes, Eure, Seine-Maritime were placed on lockdown light.
Now from midnight on Friday, March 26th the départements of Rhône (including the city of Lyon), Nièvre and Aube will join them in the extra measures, which will run for an initial period of four weeks.
Read also: Covid 19 |Paris region locked for 4 weeks
The extra measures come as France recorded 45,000 new cases of Covid on Wednesday – approaching the 50,000 daily cases seen before France’s second strict, nationwide lockdown was imposed in the autumn.
Announcing the measures, Health Minister Olivier Véran said the situation was now very serious, but that it was ‘too early’ to look at another nationwide lockdown, pointing to wide regional variations in case numbers and hospital pressure. “Finistère is not the same as Seine-Saint-Denis,” he added.
But he warned: “In the coming days, the pressure on the health system will continue to increase.”
The rules in the ‘lockdown light’ areas are not as strict as the lockdowns in spring or autumn, but non-essential shops are closed, travel between regions banned and the attestation permission form needed for some trips out of the home.
Schools remain open, although in high schools (lycées) teaching moves to half online and half in-person classes.
After rising case numbers in schools, especially in the Paris region, there had been calls for them to be closed, but Véran reiterated that this would be a last resort for the government.