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French Prime Minister warns of new restrictions as coronavirus cases rise


French Prime Minister Jean Castex has called on citizens to stick to local coronavirus rules, warning the government could impose further restrictions if the statistics worsen.

“We are in a very difficult situation,” Castex said in an interview with broadcaster FranceInfo on Monday. Castex said a total lockdown like the one France imposed in the spring was to be avoided at all costs but did not rule out such measures on the local level: “Nothing can be excluded.”

He added a new version of the infection-tracing app StopCovid would be unveiled on October 22, after a previous one largely failed. Castex also announced Toulouse and Montpellier joined a list of cities on “maximum alert,” including Paris, Lyon and Marseille, where bars have had to close.

Almost 27,000 new infections were reported in France on Saturday, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic, followed by some 16,000 new cases on Sunday. More than 32,700 people have died in France in relation to the virus.

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