French PM Castex extends curfew to 38 more regions

French PM Jean Castex announced on Thursday a vast extension of the nightly curfew that is intended to curb the spiraling spread of the coronavirus, saying the second wave is here, news wires reported.

The curfew imposed in eight regions of France last week, including Paris and its suburbs, is being extended to 38 more regions and Polynesia starting Friday at midnight. It is likely to last six weeks before a review, Castex told reporters. Several other government ministers joined him at the news conference. The extension means that 46 million of France’s 67 million people will be under 9 p.m.-6 a.m. curfews that prohibit them from being out and about during those hours except for limited reasons, such as walking a dog, traveling to and from work and catching a train or flight. ,

The virus is spreading less rapidly during the second wave but more extensively, the prime minister said. The number of cases of COVID-19 has doubled in France in the past 15 days. Figures showed France nearing 1 million confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, with 999,043 as of Thursday evening.

The prime minister said the national hospital bed occupancy rate is now at more than 44%  and that four regions, including Paris, have more than half of their intensive care unit beds filled by COVID-19 patients, including the Paris region

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