President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday ordered France into its third national lockdown and said schools would close for three weeks as he sought to push back a third wave of Covid-19 infections that threatens to overwhelm hospitals.
With the death toll nearing 100,000, intensive care units in the hardest-hit regions at breaking point and a slower-than-planned vaccine rollout, Macron was forced to abandon his goal of keeping the country open to protect the economy.
“We will lose control if we do not move now,” the president said in a televised address to the nation.
His announcement means that movement restrictions already in place for more than a week in Paris, and some northern and southern regions, will now apply to the whole country for at least a month, from Saturday.
Departing from his pledge to safeguard education from the pandemic, Macron said schools will close for three weeks after this weekend.