President Macron announced a national four weeks lockdown in France starting Saturday, closing schools and business. “We will lose control if we do not move now,” the president said in a televised address to the nation. “It is the best solution to slow down the virus,” Macron also said. Daily new infections in France have doubled since February to nearly 40,000. The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care has breached 5,000. Macron said the vaccine rollout needed to be accelerated. France has prioritized people living in nursing homes and those aged 70 and over, as well as health care workers and people with serious health conditions. France has closed schools for 10 weeks in total since the start of the pandemic, compared to 27 weeks in the U.K., 28 weeks in Germany and 47 in the United States. All France’s restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas and museums have been closed since October.Under these restrictions, people are allowed to go outside for leisure, but within a 10-kilometer (6 miles) radius from their homes and without socializing.
Macron on Wednesday said numbers of hospital ICU beds will be increased “in the coming days” from the current 7,000 to 10,000. Unlike a year ago at the start of the pandemic, the public won’t be required to fill out a form to leave the house during France’s third nationwide lockdown. The new lockdown will force the temporary closure of 150,000 businesses at a cost of 11 billion euros ($12.89 billion) per month, the finance ministry said.