France has announced it will impose a curfew for Paris and eight other major cities and towns for a at least a month to help tackle the second wave of coronavirus.
The capital will now shut down for nine hours from 9pm until 6am, in a bid to stop the disease circulating, said President Emmanuel Macron.
This strict State of Emergency measure was also applied to Lille, Rouen, Saint-Etienne, Toulouse, Lyon, Grenoble, Aix-en-Provence and Montpellier.
All bars, restaurants, theatres and similar businesses will have to shut at 9pm sharp from Saturday, said Mr Macron.
In a live TV interview on Wednesday evening, the head of state confirmed that France was now “being hit by the second wave.”
“This virus that we have known from the beginning and which has struck us for eight months, is coming back,” he said.
“We have not lost control. We are in a situation which is worrying and which justifies that we are neither inactive nor in panic.
“It is equally worrying in other European countries, such as Germany which is also taking restrictive measures.
“Spain and the Netherlands are also in a very worrying situation, and have taken very restrictive measures in recent days’.
A state of health emergency in France was previously declared in March in response to spiralling infections as the first Covid-19 wave hit.
Mr Macron said this State of Emergency was now set to be re-introduced, along with the other tougher measures, from Saturday.
It followed the number of Covid-19 infections rising by 26,896 in 24 hours on Saturday – a record since widespread testing began.
Mr Macron’s last major TV address was on Bastille Day, July 14, and since then the wearing of face masks has been made compulsory.
France first went into strict lockdown in March, when all bars and restaurants were closed, and people need passes to go out for an hour.
But an expert panel set up to evaluate France’s response to the pandemic reported on Tuesday that there were “clear failures of anticipation, preparation and management”.
There were particular problems with a shortage of face masks early on, and the authorities were slow introduce testing.
Martin Hirsch, the head of the 39 hospitals in greater Paris, warned: “By around October 24, there will be a minimum of 800 to 1,000 Covid patients in intensive care, representing 70 to 90 percent of our current capacity.”