France expands weekend lockdown

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has ordered extra containment measures.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex has ordered extra containment measures.

France is expanding its coronavirus containment measures in a district in the country's north in its fight against the pandemic.

Prime Minister Jean Castex says the new measures include a weekend lockdown in Pas-de-Calais on the English Channel.

It is similar to one already in place in the cities of Nice and Dunkirk.

The densely populated region surrounding Paris and the port city of Marseille have been spared such restrictions thus far.

Castex emphasised on Thursday that there was currently no exponential increase in infections but that the coronavirus variant first discovered in Britain now accounted for around 60 per cent of infections in France.

Last week, he announced a higher coronavirus warning level for 20 districts, including the capital.

Three more districts were added to the list this week.

Castex called on local authorities in these areas to impose measures to prevent larger gatherings.

"The pictures we saw again last weekend in some major cities, including Paris, are simply not appropriate," he said, referring to large gatherings held due to better weather.

In the country of around 67 million people, more than 87,500 have died after contracting coronavirus.

France carries out more than 2 million tests per week.

Australian Associated Press