Masked man in Paris
Masked man in Paris iStock

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday a month-long limited lockdown for Paris and other regions of the country starting Friday, as the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units continues to spike, France24 reported.

Schools and essential shops, including bookstores, will remain open.

Castex said the new restrictions will take effect from Friday midnight and will last four weeks. The restrictions will be imposed on 16 regions, including the Paris area.

While non-essential businesses will close and movement outside will be restricted in the affected regions, schools will stay open and outdoor exercise allowed up to 10 kilometers (6 miles) from home, he said. The curfew will also be reduced, starting at 7:00 p.m. from Friday.

Castex said that cases continue to rise in France and that "more and more this is looking like a third wave."

With 4.11 million people infected since the start of the outbreak, France has the sixth-highest case count in the world.

On Thursday, around 38,000 new cases were reported – the highest level in four months – as Paris hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases began transferring patients to other regions, according to France24.

More than 91,000 people have died in France from the disease, according to an official count.

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