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Health News

France should prepare for 'difficult decisions' on COVID, minister says

FILE PHOTO: Customers are seen on the terrace of a restaurant before the nightly curfew due to restrictions against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nice, France, October 23, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) - France should get ready for “difficult decisions” on new measures to cope with the resurgence of COVID-19, interior minister Gerald Darmanin said on Tuesday before a cabinet meeting to discuss the pandemic.

French authorities are looking at options for still tighter measures to fight COVID-19, which has kept spreading despite some of the strictest restrictions in Europe, according to three sources familiar with the government’s thinking.

“We must expect difficult decisions,” Darmanin told France Inter radio.

France has already set a curfew from 9 p.m.-6 a.m. in major cities, including Paris. Two industry sources in contact with the government said officials are now considering starting the curfew earlier, confining people to their homes at weekends except for essential trips, and closing non-essential shops.

On Monday, France reported 26,771 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. The death toll rose by 257, taking the cumulative total since the start of the epidemic to 35,018 deaths. The number of people in intensive care units rose by 186 to 2,770.

The government is trying to balance fighting the virus with ensuring that new restrictions do not hurt the economy too much, but Paris infectious diseases specialist Gilles Pialoux called for a new national lockdown.

“I think we clearly need to lock down the country,” he told BFM TV.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Andrew Heavens, Larry King

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