France Announces New Lockdown of Paris

By Dejan Vukosavljevic
(Credit: Opéra National de Paris)

The French government has announced that it will implement a strict lockdown of Paris and 15 other departments, due to the exponential spread of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The lockdown will last for four weeks starting Friday, March 19 midnight. Aisne, Nord, Oise, Pas-de-Calais, Somme, Paris, Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Seine-et-Marne, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise and Yvelines, Eure, Seine-Maritime and Alpes-Maritimes are the affected departments.

“The progression of the epidemic is clearly accelerating. We recorded 30,000 cases alone yesterday and 35,000 today,” said French Prime Minister Jean Castex on March 18. Castex added that his cabinet sees the rise as the third wave of the pandemic. “We knew that the UK variant of the coronavirus was more contagious. We are slowly discovering that it is actually both more virulent and potentially more serious.”

Only essential shops will remain open. There will be no time limit for leaving home during the day, but only within a limit of 10 kilometers allowed, and with an attestation authorization form. No travel will be allowed between regions.

The decision will undoubtly affect Opéra National de Paris and Opéra Comique.

French opera houses, theaters, and concert venues have been closed since late October 2020.