COVID-19: Paris among 16 French regions set to go into lockdown for a month from midnight tomorrow

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PARIS, March 17, 2021 -- A woman wearing a mask walks past the Trocadero Place near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, March 17, 2021. France has entered "a form of third wave of the coronavirus pandemic characterized by numerous virus variants," Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Tuesday, stressing that his government still considers vaccination a top priority of its strategy to stem the spread of the virus. On Tuesday, the health authorities reported 29,975 new infections across the country, bringing the cumulative total to 4,108,108. The number of single-day deaths jumped to 408, taking the total to 91,170. (Photo by Gao Jing/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Gao Jing via Getty Images)

Paris is among 16 regions of France facing new lockdowns from midnight tomorrow, the country's prime minister Jean Castex has announced.

He said the nation was in a third wave because of coronavirus variants.

Schools will remain open under the latest measures, but all non-essential shops will be required to close.

The lockdown will last for a month.

French authorities have gone to great lengths to avoid re-imposing the strictest measures, having previously opted for weekend lockdowns and nightly curfews instead.

Skyrocketing case numbers, however, along with a slow vaccine rollout has forced the government to bolster its strategy.

It comes as France on Thursday reported a further 34,998 cases of COVID-19 - down slightly from the more than 38,000 new infections the day before.

Another 268 people have also died, bringing the country's total fatality toll to 91,679.