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Friday, 30 October 2020

Tens of thousands flee Paris on eve of lockdown: Gridlock for miles, stations are packed and shelves are stripped ahead of month-long coronavirus restrictions that will see travel between regions BANNED

 

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown. 

Video posted to Twitter shows huge numbers of Parisians attempting a mass exodus out of the mega-city in a bid to avoid the 9pm curfew and the start of the second lockdown from midnight.

The night air was filled with the sound of blaring car horns while social media users estimated that Parisians had created 'hundreds of miles' of gridlock to escape to their second homes in the country. 

Revellers also seized the opportunity to spend one last night with friends and family last night before bars and restaurants are closed as the French government plunges the country back into lockdown.

Meanwhile, French people emptied supermarkets in a repeat of the panic-buying that swept Europe in March as Parisians and other city dwellers prepared for a month in confinement. 

Shoppers stocked up on pasta and toilet roll while people queued outside hairdressers for a final trim. Office workers in the capital's business district hauled their equipment to cars and trains in preparation for WFH.  

Emmanuel Macron's draconian measures are due to be enforced until at least December 1, with people required to carry documents justifying their reason for leaving home that will be subject to police checks.



France's health minister yesterday warned that up to a million people may be infected with the disease, while Prime Minister Jean Castex extended mask requirements to schoolchildren as young as six. 

French schools will stay open but the stay-at-home measures for adults are as strict as in the spring, with written paperwork needed to go outside for shopping, medical care or one hour a day of exercise.    

President Macron said a curfew in Paris and other major cities had failed to stem the tide of infections, claiming that 400,000 people would die of Covid-19 if drastic action were not taken. 

In a televised announcement, he said: 'Our target is simple: sharply reducing infections from 40,000 a day to 5,000 and slowing the pace of admissions to hospital and intensive care.' 

Hospitals are already scrambling for intensive care beds and 'no matter what we do, nearly 9,000 people will be in intensive care by mid-November,' he said. The French leader called the new restrictions 'heartbreaking' but said he 'could never stand by and see hundreds of thousands of our citizens die'.  





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