France went into its third national lockdown on Wednesday, as President Emmanuel Macron tries to push back a new wave of COVID-19 infections.
“Yes, the virus must be slowed down. We will also close down daycares, elementary, middle, and high schools for three weeks.”
Macron added that a 7 p.m. curfew will be nationwide, and mandated work-from-home and social distancing measures.
The lockdown comes as the country’s death toll nears 100,000.
Daily infections have doubled since February to nearly 40,000 and intensive care units are at a breaking point.
It's all a set-back for France, the euro zone's second-largest economy, and dampens hope for a swift economic recovery, in part, due to a sluggish vaccination rollout.
The country’s program has been slowed by supply shortages, with just 12 percent of the population inoculated, but Macron on Wednesday also tried to offer hope.
“If we organise ourselves in the next months, then we will see the end of the tunnel, and we will find our way back."
Macron said the April lockdown and a swifter vaccination rollout would allow some businesses like museums and outdoor dining to slowly re-open by mid-May.