French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said “nothing was off the table” when taking steps to curb the spread of the coronavirus, hinting that local authorities in Paris soon could announce an early closure of bars similar to that of Marseille.
The southern port city Marseille on Tuesday enforced a blanket rule on mask-wearing everywhere outside in the city and the closing of all bars and restaurants at 11pm.
“This could obviously be the case for Paris in the coming days, nothing is off the table,” Attal said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“The circulation of the virus is high in the capital and in a number of départments in the inner suburbs,” Attal said, adding that “Préfets and elected officials are in constant contact to prepare possible new measures.”
French Prime Minister Jean Castex, who on Tuesday appealed to the “sense of responsibility” of the French, will hold a press conference on Thursday morning where he could announce new measures.
Paris and Marseille are both designated “red zones”, areas that have seen an increase in the number of new coronavirus cases high enough for the public health agency to put them on the highest level of alert.
Ten of France's 96 mainland départements have so far been labelled “red zones”, which means local authorities have extended powers to take restrictive measures to curb the spread of the virus, including closing down bars, restaurants and restricting access to public transport.
Paris and its inner suburbs were badly hit during the fist wave of cases in March and April, recording high levels of deaths and near saturation of hospital facilities. Since then authorities have been carefully monitoring numbers in the Île-de-France region, worried about cases flaring again in the densely-packed city.
French health authorities consider any area exceeding the threshold of 10 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the previous seven days as under “observation”.
More than 20 cases sees an area bumped up to a “moderate” risk level while 50 plus cases per 100,000 makes it a “red zone” or elevated level.
New record of cases