New Delhi: French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday announced a second nationwide lockdown until “at least December 1”. As a result, all non-essential activities like restaurants and bars will be shut, but schools and factories will remain open. Also Read - First COVID-19 Vaccine is Here But do we All Need to be Vaccinated? Here's What we Know

The national lockdown will be effective from Friday. Also Read - Not Wearing Mask? You May Have to Offer Community Service at Covid Centres, Says Gujarat HC

The number of new cases was already significantly higher than during the first wave. Notably, over 33,000 new cases were recorded on Tuesday, while the number of COVID-19 deaths has been the highest since April. Also Read - Historic Moment in Fight Against Covid-19, Pfizer-BioNtech Coronavirus Vaccine to Roll Out in UK Next Week

As of 12 midnight from October 23 until early December, people must stay at home between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m, the French president announced.

“The virus is being transmitted across France at a speed that even the most pessimistic did not predict,” Macron said.

“Like last spring, you will be able to leave your home only for work, for a doctor’s visit, to help a relative, do essential shopping or go out shortly for air.

“If in two weeks, we have the situation under better control, we will be able to re-evaluate things and hopefully open some businesses, in particular for the Christmas holiday,” he said.

Notably, several other European countries including Spain and Germany have also seen a surge of cases recently.

Germany’s federal and state governments have agreed to introduce sweeping contact restrictions on everyday life to curb the steep rise of COVID-19 infections. The order will be effective from November 2.