Paris will be placed on maximum Covid-19 alert, meaning bars will be forced to close for two weeks from Tuesday and new sanitary protocols will have to be put in place to keep restaurants open, the prime minister has ordered.
Jean Cassack’s office said there had been no improvement in the Paris area since the French capital’s government passed three standards for high-level vigilance in the middle of last week.
The move comes as Europe’s second wave speeds up, with Irish health officials advising a full lockdown and documents revealing plans for a tougher traffic-light system in England’s traffic-light system.
A statement from Cassex’s office said work from home in the Paris area should be given “higher priority now” and that university lecture halls should not be more than half full.
The restrictions imposed from Tuesday will take effect.
The statement said, “These measures, which are essential in the fight against the spread of viruses, will take effect immediately for two weeks with three divisions in and around Paris.”
To keep a city on high alert, there must be more than 250 cases per 100,000 cases of general infection among the elderly and more than 250 cases per general population, while at least 30% of intensive care beds are reserved for coronavirus patients.
One week ago, restaurants and bars in the southern city of Marseille, the epicenter of the second wave, were closed for a fortnight, encouraging protests and a failed legal challenge.
Restaurants in Marseille will be allowed to reopen under the same new protocol.
A total of 12,565 new cases of coronavirus were found in France on Sunday, with 893 Covid-19 patients admitted to intensive care last week.
Ireland’s health chiefs, meanwhile, recommended to the government on Sunday that the country enter a second nationwide lockout for four weeks in a surprise move that the cabinet will discuss on Monday.
Ireland’s national public health emergency team has recommended jumping from the current level 2 control in 24 of Ireland’s 2 county counties and to the highest level of the Covid-19 restriction in Dublin and Donegal’s strict level 3 step.
Throughout the epidemic the government has almost fully taken the advice of their health chiefs, but a source said going back to the lockout would have serious economic and social implications.
Taoisek Michelle Martin and leaders of her two coalition partners will meet with the country’s chief medical officer on Monday before a cabinet meeting to discuss the recommendation.
Under level 5, people are told to stay indoors without exercising within 5km, only the necessary retailers are allowed to stay open. Apart from the first lockdown, schools and creases do not have to be closed.
A spokesman for the Department of Health was not immediately available for comment.
In England, leaked documents seen by the Guardian show plans for a new three-tier lockdown system, paving the way for potentially stricter restrictions, including closing pubs and banning social contact outside the family group.