Covid-19: France PM Castex announces tighter curfew

The prime minister said there was no need, yet, for a new national lockdown

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced a new evening curfew will begin nationally across France starting at 18:00 (17:00 GMT) Saturday.

The move is a tightening of a curfew already place since mid-December, which restricts movement from 20:00-06:00.

Announcing the measure on Thursday, Mr Castex described the country’s situation as “worrying” with infections remaining at a “high plateau”.

He also announced new restrictions for people arriving into the country.

All those arriving from outside the EU will now have to test negative for the virus within 72 hours before travelling into France and then isolate for seven days, Mr Castex said.

France has so far recorded more than 69,000 coronavirus deaths – the seventh-highest death toll in the world.

The new curfew will stay in place for at least 15 days and means everyone must be home, unless they are returning from school or work, by 18:00 every day.

The tighter restriction was already in place in some hard-hit eastern regions of the country before Thursday’s announcement.

It is seen as a way to avoid a full national lockdown, but Mr Castex said further restrictions would be imposed “without delay” if the situation deteriorated.

The prime minister said Thursday that France would aim to carry out at least one million Covid-19 tests per month in schools to help keep them open.