French President Emmanuel Macron said he will impose a new nationwide lockdown starting Friday.
The announcement of the lockdown follows less than a week after France expanded a curfew to about two-thirds of the population. That has not noticeably slowed the virus. Average daily infections more than doubled from 17,000 to 36,000 in the last two weeks.
The initial coronavirus lockdown was lifted five months ago but the French economy is still struggling to recover. Across Europe, economies have recovered more slowly than in the U.S. and Asia.
The lock will remain in place until December. French schools will remain open but bars and restaurants will be closed and travel between regions banned. People will be encouraged to remain at home and work from home. Universities will move to online-only instruction. External borders will be closed to travelers from outside the Schengen Area.
Macron said people should not leave their homes except to buy essential goods, seek medical care, or exercise for an hour a day.
Germany’s Angela Merkel announced earlier Wednesday that her government would impose a four-week lockdown.