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France braces for month-long lockdown as virus deaths mount

French schools will stay open this time, to reduce learning gaps and allow parents to keep working. Farmer' markets, parks and factories can also continue operating, officials said.

By: AP | Paris | October 29, 2020 6:15:27 pm
France, France restaurant, France COVID-19, France lockdownThe new lockdown is gentler than what France saw in the spring, but still a shock to restaurants and other non-essential businesses that have been ordered to close their doors in one of the world's biggest economies. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole, File)

French doctors expressed relief but business owners were in despair as France prepared Thursday to shut down again for a month to try to put the brakes on a fast-moving fall coronavirus outbreak.

Shoppers at a Paris farmers’ market said Thursday they were ready to restrict their freedoms given the rising number of virus-related deaths and COVID-19 patients filling French hospitals.

The new lockdown is gentler than what France saw in the spring, but still a shock to restaurants and other non-essential businesses that have been ordered to close their doors in one of the world’s biggest economies.

French schools will stay open this time, to reduce learning gaps and allow parents to keep working. Farmer’ markets, parks and factories can also continue operating, officials said.

French lawmakers are voting Thursday on the new restrictions announced by President Emmanuel Macron, which are set to come into effect at midnight. The lower house of parliament is dominated by Macron’s centrist party, so approval is virtually guaranteed. The prime minister will lay out details of the virus-fighting plan Thursday evening.

Dr Eric Caumes, head of the infectious and tropical disease department at Paris’ Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, said Thursday on BFM television that the new restrictions are “an admission of failure” of the government’s prevention efforts. He urged tougher restrictions.

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