PARIS, March 24 (Xinhua) — The coronavirus situation is worsening across France and the government is considering adding three departments to the list of 16 high-risk areas, where tight restrictions have been in place since last week, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said here on Wednesday.
“We must restrict travel and close certain establishments,” he told journalists. “The measures already taken are balanced and effective as long as they are respected.”
As many people as possible should work from home in order to curb the spread of the virus, he stressed, adding that more checks will be carried out and enterprises will face sanctions if they fail to respect the rules.
On March 19, the government implemented a partial lockdown for 16 of France’s 101 departments, including Paris and its surroundings, as the country saw the daily number of COVID-19 infections nationwide resurge to the highest level since mid-November.
Non-essential shops are closed, inter-regional travel is banned, people are urged to stay home, the only authorized trips are for work when it cannot be done remotely, for medical emergency, buying necessities or for exercising outdoors as long as they are within 10 kilometers of home.
The epidemic situation remains severe with the average number of daily infections staying above 30,000 last week. As of Tuesday evening, 26,756 patients had been hospitalized for COVID-19, including 4,634 in intensive care.
On Wednesday, local media reported that Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot, 74, tested positive last Saturday and has been hospitalized.
Minister of Labor Elisabeth Borne, 59, also tested positive for COVID-19 on March 14 and was hospitalized. On Wednesday, she left the hospital and expressed her “thanks to the medical staff” on Twitter.