Paris, March 20 (IANS) A month-long coronavirus lockdown went into effect in Paris and other French regions on Saturday as the country is struggling to contain a third wave of the pandemic.About one in three of the 67 million people living in the country is affected by the tougher measures, reports dpa news agency.But this lockdown will be lighter than previous versions.In 16 administrative districts, all non-essential shops must close but book and music stores are allowed to stay open.Schools can also welcome students. People are allowed to move around outside, but only within a radius of 10 kilometres from their place of residence.The situation in the greater Paris region is of particular concern.Patients have been taken to hospitals in other parts of the country due to a lack of capacity in intensive care units.The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week had recently climbed to around 450 in the greater Paris area."We know the cause of this third wave: the arrival of the so-called British variant, which now accounts for almost three quarters of infections," Prime Minister Jean Castex had said on Thursday."These measures could be extended to other parts of the country," Castex warned.In addition to Paris, the new rules cover several areas in the north as well as the Alpes-Maritimes department, which includes Nice.One of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, France has so far reported 4,242,145 confirmed coronavirus cases and 91,833 deaths.
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