France is extending a regional COVID-19 lockdown to the entire country and keeping the restrictions for one month, French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronStructure of Notre Dame Cathedral secured, ready for restoration French ambassador: Australia made a 'huge mistake' canceling submarine contract Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake MORE said Wednesday.
In a televised address, the French president said that nonessential businesses would be closed and workers who can work remotely would remain at home. French citizens will also be prohibited from leaving home except for essential tasks after 7 p.m.
The measures go into effect nationwide on Saturday.
BREAKING: President Emmanuel Macron has announced France will widen lockdown restrictions - which have already been in place in several regions - to the whole country.— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 31, 2021
The new measures will be in place for a least one month, starting Saturday.
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France is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations on track to reach the heights of a major spike the country saw last fall. On Tuesday, just under 31,000 new infections were reported nationwide and roughly 5,000 were in intensive care due to COVID-19, according to the BBC.
Schools will also be closed for most students for three weeks, though children of essential workers will still be able to attend as a means of ensuring child care for the workers.
France, along with other European Union countries, has faced a slow vaccine rollout and struggled to vaccinate its population at a high enough rate to achieve herd immunity as a result. The nation also joined several others in suspending vaccinations using AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine due to safety concerns, further complicating their efforts.