Paris entered yet another lockdown on Friday amid rising COVID-19 cases, a stymied vaccine rollout, and the overwhelming spread of the more contagious variant of the virus. By Alison Fox
The lockdown, effective from midnight on Friday, was ordered for the city as well as several areas in the north of France, Reuters reported. While people won’t be locked in their homes, they will be required to stay within about 6 miles (9.6 kilometres) for exercise, and clothing stores and furniture shops will be closed.
Bookstores and other essential stores can remain open along with schools. A nationwide curfew, in place since December, will remain in effect but be moved to 7 pm.
The decision to shut down comes as about 75 per cent of new cases have been attributed to the UK variant, with cases in Paris recorded at more than 400 for every 100,000 residents.
“The epidemic is getting worse. Our responsibility now is to not let it escape our control,” Prime Minister Jean Castex said at a news conference, according to Reuters. “Four weeks, the time required for the measures to generate a sufficient impact. [It is] the time we need to reach a threshold in the vaccination of the most vulnerable.”
The lockdown also comes after a snag in vaccination plans after several countries paused dispensing AstraZeneca shots following reports of blood clots. On Thursday, the European Medicines Agency said a preliminary review showed the shot was safe since “the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of blood clots” and “the benefits of the vaccine in combating the still widespread threat of COVID-19 (which itself results in clotting problems and maybe fatal) continue to outweigh the risk of side effects.”
Castex said France would resume offering the AstraZeneca shot.
“I am confident public trust in the vaccine will be restored,” he told the wire service.
While heading to Paris may not be an option right now, travellers looking to explore the City of Lights can do so from home with a virtual experience, learning about everything from French wine to how to make sweet and airy chouquettes.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel+Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.