By Cindi Cook
PARIS (AA) – French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday that 38 more departments within the country as well as the overseas territory of Polynesia will be placed under curfew starting this Saturday to curb the spread of coronavirus.
They on Oct. 24 will join the Paris/Ile-de-France and eight of France's other regions which were placed under curfew last week, from midnight Saturday.
A total of 54 departments in France will now adhere to the new hourly limitations between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. (1900-0400GMT). The ruling affects almost 46 million people.
The premier called the situation "grave" in a news conference while announcing the extension of coronavirus-related measures.
The announcement by Castex also places the new regions in the maximum security level, the highest of three levels that France has established to gauge the risk level within each region.
The ruling will affect new regions such as the Val-de-Marne and the Val d'Oise, to the southeast of Paris.
Castex's new ruling comes as nearly 27,000 new cases of coronavirus infections were reported from Wednesday to Thursday, a rise of 6,300. Those in intensive care rose by 71 people, with a total of 1,584 people. A total of 9,375 patients remain hospitalized throughout France.
Since the start of last week's curfew, 4,777 fines have been doled out by police for those not in compliance.