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‘We have to act’: France’s Macron orders curfews to contain COVID

France declares public health state of emergency over COVID-19

The restriction, which will come into force on Saturday and last for at least four weeks, will mean residents will not be able to go to restaurants or private homes during those hours.

President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday ordered a nighttime curfew for Paris and eight other French cities to contain the spread of COVID-19 after daily new infection rates reached alarming record levels.

"We have not lost control of the situation".

Anyone found to be outdoors during the curfew without special authorisation would face a fine of 135 euros (US$159), and more than 10 times that sum for repeat offenders, Macron said.

France and a host of other European countries are experiencing a second wave of coronavirus infections.

"I am convinced that what we do now will be decisive for how we come through this pandemic", Merkel said. "We will get through this, together".

Paris had been largely spared those measures, but alarms were raised Saturday after the country recorded almost 27,000 new cases in the previous 24-hour period, a record for France during the pandemic, with a worrying number of infections concentrated in the capital.

Earlier Wednesday, the French government re-imposed a national state of health emergency to allow "measures proportional to the health risks to be taken".

The number exceeds the previous record set during the first wave of the pandemic on March 21, when at least 6,557 cases were recorded over a 24-hour period.

Several hundred health workers took to the streets of Paris on Thursday afternoon to protest against conditions in French hospitals, as the number of new coronavirus cases surges across the country. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days.