PARIS - Several more French departments are to enter red-alert status over the coronavirus pandemic in coming days, which means that they will have to impose curfews, the government said on Wednesday.
Spokesman Gabriel Attal also told a news conference the government was proposing to extend a state of emergency to Feb. 16. This would mean it retained the power to extend curfews already in place in France's biggest cities, including Paris.
From Saturday, Paris and other big cities have been put on a 2100 to 0600 curfew, which is set to last four weeks but could be extended to six weeks.
Attal also said that the country's emergency rooms were now at 40% of capacity due to the heavy influx of COVID-19 patients.
French media reported that hospitals in the cities of Clermont and Dijon were moving to emergency mode, meaning that they postpone non-coronavirus related operations and cancel staff holidays.
Hospitals in the Paris region moved into emergency mode early October, as coronavirus patients made up close to half of all patients in intensive care units (ICUs).