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France should prepare for ‘difficult decisions’ on new COVID curbs: minister

PARIS (Reuters) – France should get ready for “difficult decisions” on new measures to tackle the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, interior minister Gerald Darmanin said on Tuesday ahead of a cabinet meeting to discuss the pandemic.

French authorities are looking at options for still tighter measures to fight COVID-19, which has kept spreading despite some of the strictest restrictions in Europe, according to three sources familiar with the government’s thinking.

“We must expect difficult decisions,” Darmanin told France Inter radio.

France has already set a curfew from 9 p.m.-6 a.m. time in major cities, including Paris. Two industry sources in contact with the government said officials are now looking at measures including starting the curfew earlier, confining people to their homes at weekends except for essential trips, and closing non-essential shops.

On Monday, France reported 26,771 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, while the death toll went up by 257, taking the cumulative total since the start of the epidemic to 35,018 deaths. The number of people in intensive care units rose by 186 to 2,770.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Andrew Heavens)