France must avoid general Covid-19 lockdown by all means, says PM Castex

France must avoid another general lockdown by all means possible in the face of a “very strong” resurgence of Covid-19, said Prime Minister Jean Castex.

Speaking Monday on France Info radio, Castex urged the public to wear face coverings as much as possible, keep contacts to a minimum and take other basic sanitary measures to avoid infection.

“I’m not asking anything revolutionary,” Castex said. It’s essential for companies to keep working, and children to keep going to school, he said.

France has emphasized local measures to combat a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks after a two-month national lockdown in the spring devastated the economy. With new infections spiking to fresh highs, there’s little evidence the piecemeal approach is working.

Toulouse and Montpellier this weekend joined other French cities that have been placed on maximum alert as the number of coronavirus cases in the country rose by nearly 27,000 on Saturday. Bars, casinos and exhibitions in the cities will close while restaurants, cinemas and museums have to abide by stricter health rules starting Monday.

New phone app

The government plans to release a new “stop-covid” mobile-phone app on Oct. 22 to help contain the virus, Castex said. The government is also considering additional unspecified measures if the situation doesn’t improve in the next 15 days, he said.

Separately, President Emmanuel Macron will not be isolating after coming into contact with French Polynesia President Édouard Fritch, who has tested positive for the coronavirus, because Macron has followed sanitary protocols meticulously, with masks and social distancing, according to the Elysee.

By Bloomberg

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