'Oh no, not again!' – Parisians brace for new COVID lockdown

PARIS (Reuters) – Camila Campodonico was at work in Paris on Thursday evening when the government announced the city was entering a new lockdown to combat COVID-19, and she knew her plans for a get-together with friends this weekend were over.

A woman, wearing a protective face mask, walks with her shopping trolley in a street in Cambrai before new lockdowns imposed during a month-long on Paris and parts of the north after a faltering vaccine rollout and spread of highly contagious coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variants in France, March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

“I heard that and I said: ‘Oh no, not again. A lockdown.’ I wasn’t very happy,” said Campodonico, a student from Argentina who is working temporarily for a marketing company.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that, because intensive care units were close to over-flowing, Paris residents could only leave home for essential trips or exercise, and non-essential travel to other parts of the county was banned.

Large numbers of Paris residents headed to railway stations on Friday morning so they could get out of the city before the restrictions, due to last for a month, come into force at midnight.

At the Gare de l’Est station in Paris, there were long lines of people at the ticket office. People, some with pets, rushed to board trains heading for Strasbourg and Luxembourg.

Valentino Armilli, 27, was going to visit his parents in Thionville, in the Lorraine region in eastern France, for the weekend. He took the decision to go there on Thursday night, because of the new lockdown.

“My parents had COVID a month ago and I have not seen them since. This weekend is the last time for a long while that I’ll be able to see them,” he said.

There was relief though that the restrictions were less severe than in previous lockdowns. This time, for example, hairdressers can stay open.

“I think that it’s important for people’s mental health to have a decent hair style,” hairdresser Marie Leroy said at her salon in Joinville-le-Pont, just outside Paris.

“People are a bit depressed, they’re fed up I think at the moment so going to the hairdresser’s is important.”

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