France may extend COVID restrictions to three other regions, including Lyon

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FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask walks on the Champs Elysees in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) - France may widen its COVID-19 restrictions to three other regions, including the Rhone region which houses the major city of Lyon, the government said on Wednesday, lengthening a list of high-risk zones including Paris where curbs have been tightened.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the COVID-19 situation was worsening everywhere in the country, and that it was vital that more people in France worked from home to curb the spread of the virus.

Last week, France imposed a month-long lockdown on Paris and parts of the north after a faltering vaccine rollout and spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants forced President Emmanuel Macron to shift course.

Attal said the government was considering adding the Rhone, Aube and Nievre regions to its list of COVID-19 high-risk zones which need careful monitoring and may need restrictive measures.

The French hospital system is coming under severe strain due to an influx of COVID-19 patients.

There are close to 27,000 people with COVID-19 in French hospitals and on Tuesday the number of people in intensive care with the disease rose to a four-month high of 4,634, compared to nearly 5,000 during the second lockdown in November and more than 7,000 in April 2020.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Writing by Matthieu Protard, Editing by William Maclean)