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Lyon and other French cities set to close bars as COVID-19 infections spike

France’s third-biggest city Lyon will have to close its bars in coming days as its coronavirus infection rates are spiking and its hospital emergency beds are filling up quickly with COVID-19 patients, the health minister said on Thursday.

Minister Olivier Veran said Lyon, Lille, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne would go on maximum coronavirus alert level from Saturday. This means they will have to close their bars for two weeks in coming days, as Paris did on Tuesday and Marseille, France’s second-biggest city, did earlier this month.

Veran said the situation in Toulouse and Montpellier was also worrying and that those cities could also be moved to maximum COVID-19 alert level from Monday. Dijon and Clermont-Ferrand would be put on higher alert from Saturday, he said.

“Unfortunately, the health situation in France continues to deteriorate,” Veran said at his weekly COVID-19 briefing.

Cities placed on maximum alert level will also have to apply stricter health protocols in restaurants.

With the school mid-term holidays starting soon, Veran added no travel restrictions were on the agenda, while urging everybody to remain very cautious during family gatherings that are traditionally a feature of this vacation.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who for once took part in the weekly COVID-19 briefing, detailed extra support measures for the economy, making new sectors eligible for the state solidarity fund.