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"We are experiencing an acceleration of the epidemic because of the variant… We will lose control if we do not move now," President Macron stressed.
To slow down the coronavirus spread, schools in France will be closed for three weeks and restriction on people's movement will be extended to the whole territory, President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday evening.
Starting from Monday, students, except the children of medics, will move to remote learning for one week before going on a two-week holiday. Thereafter, the country's nurseries and primary schools will reopen from April 26, while middle and high schools will be allowed to return to the classroom from May 3. University students will be allowed to go in for only one day a week.
"It is the best solution to slow down the virus while preserving education and the future of our children," Macron said. "School is non-negotiable."
From Saturday, shops not selling basic goods will have to close, people must stay at home, work remotely and sign a document if they plan to travel to over 10 km from their homes. Inter-city travel is banned for at least one month.
That likely means we're going to see more one-day records in the weeks to come.
The French government had already introduced similar rules in 19 departments, including Paris and its surrounding areas, and the effects remain too limited as the epidemic accelerates.
"We are experiencing an acceleration of the epidemic because of the variant which risks making us lose control… We will lose control if we do not move now," Macron stressed.
On Wednesday, France reported 59,038 new coronavirus infections, up from 30,702 registered a day before, bringing the country's cumulative number of COVID-19 cases to 4,644,423. A total of 5,053 patients were in intensive care units, filling up the country's 5,100 resuscitation beds.
Child abuse by priests and clergy is on the rise in #France, according to recent data from the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church in France (CIASE). pic.twitter.com/aECDOljwiZ