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France Will Likely Be Put Under A 3rd Nationwide Lockdown


The virus is hitting Europe with its full force. Across the continent, countries are fighting back with various restrictive measures to control COVID spread. France has Europe's strictest overnight curfew, but the government there says it hasn't been enough to slow the virus down. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley has more.



ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: "The shadow of a third lockdown hangs over us," says this news anchor as she opens her broadcast. The nearly month-long 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. curfew was the government's last card to play. But spokesman Gabriel Attal says it didn't work.

GABRIEL ATTAL: (Through interpreter) The 6 p.m. curfew has been relatively inefficient. So we are forced to look at several other scenarios now, from keeping things as they are to a very tight lockdown.

BEARDSLEY: Other possible scenarios include restricting people from traveling beyond their regions - another painful choice as February is school vacation month in France and many families head to the Alps to ski. President Emmanuel Macron is said to be conflicted as he huddles with scientific advisers. He knows people are reaching a breaking point. A new hashtag has been appearing on social media - #JeNeMeConfineraiPas - I won't stay home.


BEARDSLEY: A rave party was recently shut down in the center of Paris, and footage of riots in the Netherlands over new restrictions play on the nightly news. Still, a recent poll shows 93% of the French say they'll respect new confinement measures, even if only a third say they trust the government's management of the crisis. But with more than 70,000 deaths and the virus now accelerating again, the government may have no choice. Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News, Paris.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BEST PESSIMIST'S "OCEANICA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.