France has gone into its third national lockdown as a result of an increase in Covid-19 cases that is threatening to overwhelm the country's hospitals. For four weeks, all schools and non-essential shops will be closed, and a curfew will be in effect from 7pm to 6am. The number of critically ill Covid patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) rose by 145 on Friday, the largest rise in five months. More hospital beds for Covid patients have been pledged by President Emmanuel Macron. Approximately 5,000 Covid patients are currently in ICUs in France. On Friday, there were 46,677 new cases and 304 deaths in the world.
People would need a legitimate reason to travel more than 10 km (six miles) from their homes starting Tuesday, in addition to the restrictions that went into effect on Saturday. President Macron had hoped to keep the coronavirus outbreak in France under control without implementing yet another curfew. However, the country has struggled with a vaccine rollout that has been staggered across the EU, as well as many new virus strains. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany urged citizens to do their part to get vaccinated.
He said the world was in the midst of a third wave and faced further restrictions in a television address to the nation on Saturday. He also acknowledged that mistakes had been made, particularly in testing and the vaccine rollout, and referred to a "confidence crisis" in the state. German officials declared last month that the nation would be placed on strict Easter lockdown, only to reverse their decision days later. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, called the planned lockdown from April 1 to 5 a "mistake," and said she took "ultimate responsibility" for the U-turn. On Saturday, Italy went into a three-day lockdown to try to avoid a spike in Covid-19 cases over the Easter weekend.