French face nationwide 6pm curfew to tackle coronavirus

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All of France will be under a strict 6pm curfew for at least 15 days to fight the spread of coronavirus, the Prime Minister has announced.

Jean Castex also revealed strict new controls for those arriving in France from countries outside the European Union.

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Starting on Monday, they must produce a PCR test with negative results and self-isolate for seven days followed by a new, negative test.

A shopkeeper closes up his shop ahead of the curfew (Daniel Cole/AP)

France wants to coordinate a response with the European Union about arrivals from EU countries, he said.

The French government is trying to avoid a third lockdown with partial measures like curfews which Mr Castex called both “preventative” and “reactive”.

Most regions were under an 8pm curfew but from Saturday “everyone must be home at 6pm,” Mr Castex said. That means stores must close by then. Bars and restaurants have been closed for months.

People take a selfie together on a main street in Marseille before the curfew (Daniel Cole/AP)

The average infection rate for coronavirus stands at about 16,000 people per day.

France has one of the highest death counts in Europe, at more than 69,000, and ranks seventh in the world behind countries such as the US, Brazil and the UK.

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