France’s overseas territory of Guadeloupe is to return to partial lockdown for at least three weeks because of a “catastrophic” surge in COVID-19 cases, officials announced on Monday.
The announcement comes days after Martinique, another French Caribbean island 190km to the south, returned to lockdown on Friday last week for at least three weeks, while the French island of Reunion entered a partial two-week lockdown at the weekend, including a 6pm to 5am overnight curfew.
From this evening Guadeloupe is to return to an 8pm to 5am curfew, with travel during the day restricted to a 10km radius, Guadeloupe Prefect Alexandre Rochatte told journalists.
The measures were “indispensable” to stop the surge in cases, he said.
“We are in a catastrophic situation,” said Valerie Denux, director-general of Guadeloupe’s regional health agency.
“We have passed 3,000 cases a week,” she said, adding that infections had multiplied by more than 10 over the past three weeks.
Denux also appealed for help from any qualified medical professionals on the island — including those on holiday.
While shops would stay open and restaurants would be able to serve at lunchtime, all bars, gyms, stadiums and swimming pools are to be closed.
Nearly 53 percent of the French population has been fully vaccinated, and 63.5 percent have received one shot, but the figures are significantly lower in the French overseas territories.
None of the 22 patients in intensive care in Guadeloupe had been vaccinated, Denux said.
Music fans are already mourning the death of Guadeloupean musician Jacob Desvarieux, the cofounder of Caribbean band Kassav’, who died of COVID-19 last week in a Pointe-a-Pitre hospital.
News of the latest curfew announcement came hours after French President Emmanuel Macron appealed to people to get themselves vaccinated in a social media message.
He was speaking after an estimated 200,000 people demonstrated across France on Saturday, many of them hostile to vaccination.
On Saturday night, a vaccine center on the French Caribbean island of Martinique was set alight.
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