PARIS, Oct 1 (Reuters) - The French government is poised to put Paris on maximum COVID alert from as soon as Monday, Health Minister Olivier Veran said, a move which would likely force the closure of restaurants and bars and tighten other restrictions on public life.
Veran said the wider Paris region had now passed all three of the government's criteria for being placed on the highest level of alert. In the past 24 hours, the incidence rate had surpassed 250 cases for every 100,000 inhabitants.
"It is getting worse faster in Paris and the surrounding area," Veran told a news conference.
Veran said the government and Paris City Hall would take another look at the indicators on Sunday and act if there was no improvement.
"We will take, collectively, the measures which are necessary and which we can already anticipate."
A government order a to shut down bars and restaurants in Marseille for two weeks from last Monday prompted protests and a legal challenge, which failed. Restaurateurs plan a protest on Friday in Paris.
Veran said there were signs the crisis was easing in Bordeaux, Nice and Marseille, where earlier rounds of restrictions were imposed before Paris.
Nationwide, there was no short-term risk of hospitals being overwhelmed by an influx of coronavirus patients, he said. (Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Writing by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
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