12:14 GMT19 April 2021
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    PARIS (Sputnik) - From Friday, Parisians are entering a new four-week lockdown, the third one since the onset of the pandemic, as new coronavirus variants push infections up.

    On Thursday, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced a partial lockdown in 16 regions, including the capital of Paris and its suburbs. It came as France reported another 34,998 coronavirus cases in one day.

    Partial but Still Tough

    According to Castex, the new measures come in response to a surge in infections over the past few weeks and the growing number of intensive care unit patients. He also noted that three-quarters of new cases are the UK coronavirus variant, which is considered to be more contagious.

    While the looming one-month lockdown is less strict when compared to the two previous ones, clear signs of resentment toward the measures have begun appearing among segments of the French populace frustrated with the current situation.

    Under the new restrictions, all but food shops close their doors – let alone restaurants, bars, theatres, museums, and movie theatres that have been shut since October. Trips between French regions are now also restricted.

    The French, however, are allowed to leave home for a walk, shopping, or work without having to fill out a form to justify their movements, albeit within a 10-kilometre (6.2 miles) radius limit, an increase from the 2 kilometers during the previous lockdowns.

    Mixed Reactions

    A Sputnik correspondent talked to Parisians to learn what they think about the lockdown.

    Manon, a student of psychology at a Paris university, is outraged at the current situation, saying that "it has gone on for long enough, and is no longer tolerable".

    "We initially thought that 2021 will be better than last year, but we were wrong. Authorities have sold us dreams; they’ve told us that the situation will improve with the start of the vaccination campaign, but look what happened. We are still behind schedule with the vaccination campaign, and people are afraid of vaccines due to the debates surrounding them," Manon said.

    The student noted that she had been stuck in depression for over a year now.

    "And I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. The measures announced yesterday will only make it worse," Manon added.

    Notwithstanding the fresh restrictions and their ramifications for the economy and social life, some Parisians still see them as a necessary evil to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and save lives. Arnaud, a human resources employee in a Parisian company, believes that the new lockdown is necessary.

    "There is no other option but to enforce a quarantine, especially in light of delays in vaccine deliveries. People may be fed up, but if the quarantine can help save lives and reduce the pressure on hospitals, then so be it," Arnaud said.

    Arthur, a young Parisian at the start of his career as a civil servant, believes that the new measures "have no added value, as France has lived in a state of partial lockdown for over five months."

    "We have been living under curfew for long enough, restaurants and cafes are closed, wearing masks is mandatory everywhere, and social distancing measures are strict … what is the difference then?" Arthur said.

    The young man, therefore, received the news about the new lockdown indifferently.

    "The new restrictions will not have any negative influence on our social life, because this life ended with the beginning of the pandemic. Personally I received the announcement of the new lockdown like any other piece of news," Arthur added.

    lockdown, COVID-19, France
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