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Coronavirus: France declares Paris high-risk zone

Timothy Jones
August 14, 2020

Two of France's biggest three cities are "active zones" for the spread of COVID-19, the government says. The move, which allows local authorities to impose restrictions, comes amid a jump in infections in the country.

Visitors wearing protective face masks queue to enter the Louvre Pyramid
Image: Reuters/C. Platiau

The French government on Friday decreed Paris and the Bouches-du-Rhone area, which includes the southern city of Marseille, to be areas of high risk for coronavirus.

The move gives authorities in those regions to put in place localized restrictions to contain the spread of the virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

The decree comes as infections across France have risen rapidly in the past two weeks, with the country reporting more than 2,500 new cases for a second day in a row on Thursday. The number equals that last seen in mid-April during a strict lockdown.

More powers

The classification as high-risk area will allow authorities in the designated regions to limit the circulation of people and vehicles, restrict the use of public transport and close restaurants, bars and other locations where larger numbers of people gather.

In recent days, both Paris and Marseille had made it mandatory to wear face masks in busy public areas. The two cities have seen weekly rates of infection climb above the level of 50 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is the limit that Germany, for example, has stipulated as necessitating regional lockdown measures.

The spike in infections in France has prompted Britain to order all arrivals from the country to enter quarantine for 14 days from Saturday.