France Tightens Curbs in a Second Region to Halt Covid Spread

The Northern French city of Dunkirk will institute a lockdown over the weekend as the nation turns to localized measures in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“The situation is alarming,” Health Minister Olivier Veran told reporters Wednesday in Dunkirk. “We’ll take responsible action everywhere it’s needed.”

France is reviewing local coronavirus hot spots on a case-by-case basis, and has decided to implement “targeted measures” to prevent the spread of new and more virulent variants. Dunkirk will also restrict the number of people allowed in shops, the sale of alcohol in the city center and will extend the requirement to wear masks.

In an earlier press briefing, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the health situation has reached a worrying level in about 10 locations.

New Lockdown

President Emmanuel Macron’s government is seeking to avoid a third full lockdown, which would crush the economy and could prove political costly some 14 months before presidential elections. The country is already implementing a nationwide curfew that runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., but amid a sluggish vaccine roll out officials have warned that isn’t enough.

While France has seen an average of about 20,000 new cases a day since December, and intensive care occupancy recently showing a slight rise to 67%, there’s an increasingly large regional variation.

The region of Alpes-Maritimes in the south, including Nice, is being shuttered over the coming two weekends to avoid gatherings during school holidays. The Paris region is under scrutiny as cases continue to rise there.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex will speak during the government’s weekly presser on Thursday, Attal said.

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