UPDATE: Paris City Hall says plan for new lockdown just a ‘hypothesis’

UPDATE: Paris City Hall says plan for new lockdown just a 'hypothesis'
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo with deputy Emmanuel Gregoire. Photo: Bertrand Guay / AFP
Paris city hall announced on Thursday that authorities in the French capital want to impose a three-week lockdown rather than just a weekend confinement before appearing to backtrack on the idea on Friday.

The initial announcement was made by Emmanuel Grégoire, Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s deputy, and came just hours after the Prime Minister Jean Castex put Paris and 19 other areas of France on “heightened surveillance” due to rising Covid-19 infection rates.

The French capital, along with the whole of the greater Paris region, plus départements in the north and south east of the country face new restrictions such as weekend lockdowns from March 6th if the situation does not improve.

On Thursday Grégoire said Paris intended to go further than a weekend lockdown and would suggest a three-week confinement. The measure was to be presented to the Paris préfecture and regional health authority. 

“The trajectory is worrying and without doubt it requires additional measures,” he told France Info.

He described the current 6pm-6am curfew that has been imposed in the capital and across the country as worse than a lockdown, saying it was a “half measure with bad results”.

“We cannot be forced to live in a semi-prison for months on end,” he said saying a weekend lockdown was “highly restrictive” on society and would have “little impact on the health situation.”

“We can’t carry on with half measures that lead us towards an inevitable lockdown,” Grégoire told BFM TV later. 

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the proposal would be looked at.

But giving a press conference the following morning the deputy mayor of Paris appeared to backtrack saying a new lockdown in the capital was just a “hypothesis”.

“We are not proposing to put a lockdown in place in Paris,” he said. “But we think the policy of half-measures with questionable results is a form of a never-ending cycle.

“It (lockdown) was never a proposition, I stress again that it was just a hypothesis.”

“The figures are not good and the direction is not good,” he said. 

“We have been living under a curfew for 140 days, the restaurants and bars have been closed since October 29th,” he said adding that City Hall chiefs would work through the weekend to come up with propositions.

At present the lockdown proposal is only for the city of Paris, but during earlier regional restrictions Paris and the petite couronne – the inner suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne and Hauts-de-Seine – coordinated measures. 


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