The French government on Wednesday declared a public health state of emergency, giving officials greater powers to impose new measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 epidemic constitutes a public health disaster which, by its character and its severity, puts at risk the health of the population,” the government said in a statement announcing the state of emergency.
“It justifies the declaration of a state of emergency so that measures can be adopted … which are strictly proportionate to the public health risks.”
The statement did not say what action the government would take, but the adoption of a state of emergency gives the authorities statutory powers to impose tough measures. President Emmanuel Macron is expected to detail the measures being planned when he gives an interview on national television at around 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Wednesday.
French media reported that a night curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. was one of the measures Macron would unveil.
The French government previously declared a public health state of emergency in March this year, when hospitalisations caused by the epidemic were near their peak.