French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced a stricter COVID-19 lockdown starting Tuesday, for at least three weeks.
The new rule is being introduced as lockdown measures implemented since late October have not effectively restricted the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country as fast as the government anticipated.
The daily curfew will be imposed from 8 p.m to 6 a.m. since December 15, although the stay-at-home order will be lifted on the same day. The plan to reopen restaurants, bars, theaters, and sports venues has been put off for another three weeks.
Since Christmas and New Year Eve are approaching, family gatherings are permitted but limited to a maximum of six adults together.
"We aren't yet at the end of this second wave, and we won't reach the objectives we had set for 15 December," Mr. Castex said in a news conference held on Thursday. "We can't let down our guard. We have to stay focused and find our way through the next few weeks with lots of vigilance."
Mr. Castex also announced the curfew will not be lifted on New Year's Eve as it's a crucial time to prevent big gatherings and curb the spread of COVID-19.
France is now hovering at above 10,000 new daily cases, double the threshold set for lifting the lockdown. Authorities say more than one person is being put in intensive care every seven minutes.