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France to impose new national lockdown as COVID-19 cases rise

France to impose new national lockdown as COVID-19 cases rise
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French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronTrump addresses virtual G-20 summit, heads out before session on pandemic G-20 leaders stress importance of united response to coronavirus pandemic Czech president says Trump should quit after election loss and 'not be embarrassing' MORE on Wednesday announced that France will go into a second national lockdown beginning Friday due to the surging numbers of coronavirus cases in the country, according to a report from Reuters

On Monday, France announced a record number of cases with more than 52,000 infections recorded in a single day. More than 500 deaths due to COVID-19 were reported Wednesday, the most since the first surge of cases in France in the spring.

“The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated. Like all our neighbours, we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus," the president said at a news conference, according to the report. 

Under the second national lockdown, nonessential businesses such as restaurants and bars will close and people will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential work or medical reasons, according to Macron. 

However, unlike the first lockdown, schools will remain open, and if employers decide it is impossible for workers to work from home, they will be allowed to travel to their places of work.

On Wednesday neighboring Germany announced a partial, monthlong shutdown that will close down bars, restaurants and gyms. Italy and Spain have announced new curfews in the past week, with the Italian government shutting down athletic facilities and cinemas on Sunday.

In early October, curfews affecting a third of France’s population were announced in an effort to stem the rising number of cases, but Macron acknowledged this week that the curfew had proved to be insufficient in its goal. 

A second wave of coronavirus cases has been steadily building across Europe and the U.S. Experts predicted early on that cases would rise as temperatures dropped due to more time spent indoors to get away from the cold.