France will be placed under a second national lockdown from midnight Thursday in a bid to stem the second wave of Covid-19.

The measure was announced in a TV address by President Macron last night, saying a ‘brutal brake’ was needed, otherwise all of the country’s intensive care beds would be filled with Covid-19 patients by mid-November.

“Difficult measures have to be taken,” Macron said.

“We have always said we have to live with the virus… We have done all we can do and I believe our strategy and information has been good,” he said. “But we have to admit, like our [European] neighbours, we are submerged by the acceleration of the spread of the virus. All of Europe is surprised by the speed of the spread of the virus.”

“We are overwhelmed by a second wave that is set to be harder and more deadly than the first.”

Macron said he wanted to reduce daily infections to a manageable 5,000 per day – there were 33,000 on Tuesday.

While public services such as schools, plus supermarkets, boulangeries and tabacs will remain open, all non-essential businesses, including bars and restaurants, will be closed.

People can leave home only for essential work, medical reasons or to visit needy relatives. Private gatherings, too, will be banned.

Just as during the March-May first lockdown, anyone leaving their home will be required to carry an attestation (declaration) stating the reason for being outside, with a downloadable app version pending.

Everyone will be allowed one hour’s ‘fresh air’ or exercise time per day near where they live.

Further details of the lockdown will be given by Prime Minister Jean Castex later today.

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