Thu, 15 Apr 2021

Paris is expected to escape weekend lockdown measures that are to be imposed on "a handful" of high-risk departments throughout France.

Ahead of new restrictions to be announced by Prime Minister Jean Castex during a press conference later Thursday, government sources told French media the Île-de-France region that surrounds Paris would likely get a reprieve.

This follows a defence council meeting during which shifting from a 6pm curfew to a total lockdown on weekends was deemed to be a "last resort" for the French capital.

However a government source told BFMTV that gatherings should be avoided at all costs, and that residents "needed to understand they must stay home".

The source added: "You really have to be careful ... The next step is heavy confinement, with schools closed."

Touchy subject

The potential for a weekend lockdown is a sensitive subject in Paris, where Mayor Anne Hidalgo said such a move would be "inhumane".

While weekend lockdowns have already been enforced in Dunkirk, in the north, and Nice, in the south - Hidalgo insists a stricter three-week total lockdown was a smarter move that would allow the capital to open up for business sooner.

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France Info reported that resistance in Paris to a lockdown on weekends - with people still allowed to travel for work during the week - was a factor in the government's expected decision to spare the capital.

Last week, 20 French departments - including the Île-de-France - were placed under reinforced surveillance. That list is expected to be updated, with some moving out of "red zone" status and others moving into it.

It's understood the entire northern department of Pas-de-Calais, which has seen an explosion in case numbers, will be put into weekend lockdown for the next three or four weeks.

Originally published on RFI

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