Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Amid virus surge, France closes schools, bans domestic travel

With his country facing a surge in coronavirus cases, French President Emmanuel Macron announced during a televised address on Wednesday night that schools will be closed nationwide for three weeks and there will be a one-month ban on domestic travel.

"The epidemic is accelerating," Macron said, making these measures necessary in order to keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Beginning Saturday, most non-essential stores will be closed across the country, and people who venture outdoors must stay within six miles of their homes. With Easter on Sunday, Macron asked that people "limit all contact as much as we can, including family gatherings."

There are more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients in French intensive care units, and the daily infection rate has doubled since February. Macron said getting people vaccinated is "the way out of the crisis," and efforts will ramp up in the coming days and weeks, with the goal of inoculating about half of the country's population by mid-June.