BFF-31 French Riviera to go into weekend lockdown over Covid

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HEALTH-VIRUS-FRANCE-RIVIERA

French Riviera to go into weekend lockdown over Covid

NICE, France, Feb 22, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – The French Riviera will go into
lockdown for the next two weekends to contain Covid-19 which has been
spreading faster in the tourist hotspot than elsewhere in France, the
region’s top official said on Monday.

Controls at airports and at the land border the southern Alpes-Maritimes
region shares with Italy would be tightened over the next two weeks, prefect
Bernard Gonzalez said, and stores larger than 5,000 metres square (54,000
square feet) would be closed.

The coastal city of Nice, the region’s capital and France’s fifth-biggest
city, has been recording 700 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants, three
times the national average.

Senior French hospitals official Remi Salomon has described the epidemic
as “out of control” in the region and said measures taken in recent weeks
have not been sufficient.

The coastal area affected by the lockdown, stretching from Theoule-sur-Mer
to Menton, includes Nice and other famous resorts including Cannes and
Antibes.

Residents will be allowed to go out for one hour daily so long as they
stay within a radius of five kilometres (three miles) from their homes during
the lockdown which will start at 6:00 pm on Fridays and end at 6:00 am on
Mondays.

France has avoided imposing a third nationwide lockdown to fight the
virus, in contrast with some of its neighbours, in what analysts see as a
risky gamble by President Emmanuel Macron to allow the economy to gain some
steam.

Currently mainland France has a nightly curfew beginning at 6:00 pm. The
only part of the country with a complete lockdown in place is the Indian
Ocean island of Mayotte where the measure has been in effect since February
5.

The curfew has been credited with keeping a lid on infection rates but
government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Saturday the latest trends were “not
good”.

After a slow start, France’s vaccination campaign has gained some momentum
with more than 2.5 million people receiving a first dose and, of those, over
1.1 million a second dose.

BSS/AFP/SSS/1950 hrs