The French President is thought to be on the verge of announcing another nationwide lockdown today.
Emmanuel Macron is set to address the nation at 8pm this evening to set out measures on how France will tackle the second wave of coronavirus.
Local media report the French government is planning a month-long new national lockdown.
But President Macron may instead introduce a new set of local measures and extend curfews across the country.
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His office would not comment on what the new restrictions will involve, but it is believed they will be ‘more flexible’ than the full lockdown earlier on this year.
It comes after France’s prime minister Jean Castex, top ministers and businesses have been holding emergency meetings as hospitals are filling up and doctors are pleading for help.
Interior minister Gerald Darmanin told France-Inter radio that ‘we should expect difficult decisions’.
Doctors describe growing pressure on emergency services and intensive care wards, where Covid-19 patients now take up 54% of beds nationwide.
France is now reporting more than 350 new cases per 100,000 people each week, and nearly 18% of its tests are now coming back positive.
It has reported Europe’s third-highest coronavirus death toll, at more than 35,000 lives lost.
Yesterday the country reported 523 deaths in 24 hours, which is the country’s highest daily death toll since April.
French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said: ‘Nobody disagrees with our objective, which is to absolutely prevent our hospitals being in a situation where they can’t admit new patients.’
Sources suggest possible new measures could include lengthening existing curfews, full confinement on weekends or all week, and closing non-essential businesses.
Schools are thought to be allowed to remain open regardless of the new measures.
Curfews of 9pm have already been imposed on some of France’s largest cities – including Paris, Toulouse and Lyon – which is thought to have kept anti-lockdown protests at bay.
But other countries across Europe, particularly Italy, have seen protests turn violent such as in Rome, Turin and Milan.
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