France Poised to Lock Down Again

PARIS — France will lock down again starting Thursday at midnight through at least Dec. 1, the country’s President Emmanuel Macron said during a televised address on Wednesday evening.

The decision was taken after there has been a surge in the number of coronavirus cases.

The new lockdown will be looser than the previous one in March and April, with some schools remaining open and factories operational. Non-essential stores are to close, however.

“If within two weeks we have better control of the situation, we can hope to reopen certain businesses,” said Macron.

France’s denizens will be allowed out of their homes for specific reasons delineated on an official document.

Many parts of the country had already been placed under curfews lasting from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., but nonetheless the virus has kept propagating at a rapid pace.

A general confinement equates to a loss of 2.5 points of France’s gross domestic product per month, according to Olivier Dussopt, the country’s Secretary of State to the Ministry of Public Action and Accounts, during an interview on Sud Radio on Wednesday morning.

Prior to this second lockdown, it was expected France’s growth would be down 10 percent for 2020 and up 8 percent for 2021.

Consumer sentiment in the country had declined slightly in October, by one point to 94, making it on the same level as in July and August, according to France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, or L’Insee.

“In October, households were less optimistic about their future financial situation: The corresponding balance lost three points and fell back below its longterm average,” L’Insee wrote in a statement. “In addition, the proportion of households considering it appropriate to make purchases is stable.”

Other European countries have recently tightened restrictions due to the rise of COVID-19 cases, too. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday announced a partial lockdown of the country between Nov. 2 and 30, for instance.

And earlier this month Ireland went back into a lockdown that was expected to last six weeks.

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