Fri, 26 Feb 2021

PARIS, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- France's southern coastal department of Alpes-Maritimes, which reported the country's highest COVID-19 incidence rate, will be put into lockdown over the next two weekends, local authorities said Monday.

In order to rein in the "very worrying situation," Prefect of the department Bernard Gonzales said he would impose a local lockdown starting 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Monday over the coming two weekends in the region's coastal areas, including Nice, France's fifth-biggest city.

A nationwide nightly curfew will be maintained during the rest of the week, he added.

Moreover, checks at airports and the Italian border would be reinforced, and shopping malls larger than 5,000 square meters that don't sell food products will be closed from Tuesday.

"The epidemic situation has deteriorated considerably. If we do nothing, the number of infections will increase further," warned Gonzales.

"If the rise of infections continues, it will be necessary to implement new restrictions," he added.

Alpes-Maritimes reported 557 cases per week per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 197 infections at the national level. In Nice, the region's capital, the 7-day incidence rate was at 740 cases, three times higher than the national one.

France, which counts the sixth-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, refrained from introducing a third nationwide lockdown following the spread of more contagious virus variants.

The government has opted for a ban on people movement from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and border closures to non-European visitors to halt the virus circulation.

As of Sunday, France had confirmed 3,605,181 COVID-19 infections and 84,306 deaths.

More Italy News

Access More

Sign up for The Italy News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!