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Paris enters 4-week lockdown amid spread of COVID-19 variants

Paris enters 4-week lockdown amid spread of COVID-19 variants
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France announced that Paris will enter a four-week lockdown along with northern parts of the county this week following the rampant spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants within the region.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said that France is experiencing its third wave of COVID-19 cases, with the variant discovered in Britain accounting for nearly 75 percent of the new cases. The coronavirus infection rate in Paris has surpassed 400 infections in every 100,000 inhabitants, according to Reuters.

“The epidemic is getting worse. Our responsibility now is to not let it escape our control,” Castex said at a press conference, the outlet reported.

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The lockdown will begin on Friday at midnight in France's hardest-hit areas, Reuters reported. Barbers, furniture stores and clothing stores will be required to close, while schools, bookstores and essential goods stores will reportedly be allowed to remain open.

French citizens will also be allowed to exercise outside, but unable to travel from areas with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection, Reuters noted.

“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,” Castex reportedly said during the press conference.

President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronEU urges Biden administration to increase vaccine exports Thousands march in May Day protests across France The Hill's Morning Report - Biden launches blitz for jobs plan with 'thank you, Georgia' MORE faced criticism earlier this year for not shutting the country down despite the advice of scientists. Castex on Friday said that the country does not regret making the decision not to go into lockdown earlier.

“It was the right decision in January. We would have had an unbearable three-month lockdown. We did well not to do so,” he said, according to Reuters.