Thousands of people left Paris on Thursday, just hours before France began its second nationwide shutdown, leaving the city in severe traffic congestion as many find ways to be confined to the countryside and less crowded areas.
The line of vehicles spans hundreds of miles across the city and on Boulevard Péripherique, the multilane ring road that circles around Paris, in scenes reminiscent of a spring exodus, when France imposed the first lockdown. .
In March, 1.2 million people left the Paris region, nearly one-fifth of its population. In some areas, the massive exodus of wealthy city dwellers to live in their second home helped spread the coronavirus to areas that were not at that time pandemic.
This time, the virus is spreading rapidly across the country, according to the authorities. France recorded an average of 40,000 new cases per day over the past week, one of the highest in the world. More than 2,500 new patients have been hospitalized daily for the past few days, the highest number since mid-April.
The new restrictions, which go into effect on Friday, require everyone to stay home except for essential work or medical reasons. Restaurants and businesses closed, but schools remained open.
President Emmanuel Macron earlier this week predicted that the second wave of virus would be more lethal than the first.
“I know the fatigue and the feeling of an endless day are passing through all of us,” Macron said when announcing the second lockdown on Wednesday. “This stage is very difficult, precisely because it is testing our resilience and solidarity.”
Elsewhere in Paris this week, one of the world’s most iconic bookstores, Shakespeare & Company, said sales have fallen by almost 80% since March. “Like many other independent businesses, we are struggling to find a way forward during this time when we are operating at a loss,” the bookstore wrote in its newsletter. The first iteration of the Paris institution opened in 1919.
On Thursday, the Goncourt awards organization, France’s most prestigious literary award, announced that it would be postponed, in solidarity with bookstores closed by viral rules. The Goncourt winners are auto bestsellers, and the organization says it doesn’t want e-commerce platforms like Amazon to be the only beneficiaries of this success.
François Busnel, a prominent literary critic who hosts a popular TV show, issued a petition asking the government to allow bookstores to reopen, and Some prominent politicians, including Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris and former President François Hollande supported the move.
Here are some other developments from Europe:
Before the long weekend, a number of cities and surrounding areas Spain New restrictions announced on Friday, including in northwestern Galicia, where the government banned all city residents from traveling during the three-day holiday. In northeastern Catalonia, residents will have to stay in their city not only for the weekend but also for the following days. On Thursday, the National Assembly approved maintaining the country’s emergency until May, although the government is handing over many regional regulators. Major decisions on new restrictions.
A small decrease in reports of new infections daily in Finland The past two weeks have sparked the country’s hopes that it could prevent the ascent of the cases in many other European countries. According to official data, the number of infections per 100,000 people in the past 14 days was 45.2, down from 52.9 in the previous 14 days. On Thursday, Dr. Mika Salminen, the country’s director of health security, said that the peak was over, but that, “Of course, we cannot be assured that the situation will unfold.” Indeed, as a reminder of both the volatility of virus trends and the uncertainty of data in one day, Finland reported the highest daily number of infections to date – 344 – on Thursday. Six.
Belgium Prime Minister Alexander de Croo vowed to impose a federal lockout order for six weeks. All non-essential properties will be closed starting Sunday, although some stores may offer a curbside service. Social relationships outside the household must be limited to one person – except for those living alone, who can see two people, but not at the same time. Overseas travel is not recommended, but not prohibited. The sole purpose of these measures, Mr. de Croo said, is to “ensure that our healthcare system does not fail”. The country, with 11 million people, has an average of more than 14,000 new cases per day and has recorded one of the highest per capita rates in the world. in the past seven days.