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France to introduce 9pm curfew in nine cities

The measures will remain in place for at least four weeks in the cities the most affected by coronavirus.

President Emmanuel Macron has announced a curfew starting this Saturday, October 17, between 21:00 and 06:00, in the Ile-de-France region and in eight other city areas: Lille, Rouen, Saint-Etienne, Toulouse, Lyon, Grenoble, Aix and Montpellier.   

Mr Macron said that the government has the right to impose a curfew for only four weeks, but he intends to ask Parliament to extend it until December 1, bringing it to six weeks. "That's the time we think is useful," Mr Macron said.

The president made the announcement during a live television interview with journalists Anne-Sophie Lapix of France 2 and Gilles Bouleau of TF1. 

He confirmed that all theatres, restaurants and bars in Ile-de-France and in the eight other cities affected by the curfew will have to close at 21:00.

"Obviously, for all those who come home from work after 21:00 or who work at night and work later, there will be a permit. For those who have emergencies, such as health emergencies, there will be permits. we will define the situation using common sense which will allow these people to circulate," Mr Macron said.

"There will be checks and there will be fines, as there already are. The fine will be €135,” he said. 

The president confirmed there would be a form to complete for people who need to go out during the curfew, similar to the justification forms required to go out during the period of national lockdown in spring. 

Mr Macron confirmed that travel between regions will not be restricted ahead of the upcoming October holidays.

He also invoked the UK's "rule of six rule", saying that French people should not meet with more than six people, including at home.

There will be no restrictions on transport in the affected areas. 

Recipients of the income support benefit Revenu de Solidarité Active (RSA) and housing benefit Aide personnalisée au logement (APL) will receive aid of €150, and €100 per child, over the next six weeks, Mr Macron said. 

Immediately before Mr Macron's TV appearance, a state of health emergency was declared, to come into effect from October 17.

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