PARIS (Reuters) – France is preparing this week to order people to stay in their homes except for essential journeys, work, or exercise, in a fresh attempt to curb the COVID-19 epidemic, according to two industry sources familiar with the government’s planning.
French President Emmanuel Macron is due to make a televised address on COVID-19 measures at 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) on Wednesday. A government official refused to detail the measures, beyond saying there would be new steps.
The industry sources said that the new restrictions would be nationwide, and similar in scope to a lockdown that was enforced in spring this year, when hospitalisations and deaths caused by the virus reached a peak.
Under that lockdown, people were allowed out for essential work, to seek medical care, to buy essential goods, or for one hour of exercise daily.
However, in a departure from the spring lockdown, the government is planning to keep most schools open, according to the sources.
Under the plan described by the sources, non-essential shops will close, with supermarkets and pharmacies among the outlets allowed to stay open. People will be able to go to work if they cannot do their job remotely.
The new arrangement will be of finite duration but it was not clear exactly how long it would last, according to the sources.
Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Geert De Clercq