France is to close its borders to people arriving from outside the European Union from Sunday in a bid to stop the spread of new variants of the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the measure on Friday night after an emergency government health security meeting at the presidential palace, warning of a “great risk” from the new variants.
All those arriving from other EU countries would be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test, he said.
France will also close all large shopping centres from Sunday and limit travel to and from its overseas territories.
Castex ordered increased police checks of those who violate France’s 12-hour-a-day curfew, hold secret parties or reopen restaurants in defiance of a closure order in place since October.
Virus infections, hospital admissions and deaths have been rising steadily but not sharply in recent weeks.
Many doctors have been urging a new nationwide shutdown like those imposed in several other European countries.
Castex said the measures were an attempt to avoid the economic cost of a third lockdown.
France recorded 22,858 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, taking the total to 3.15 million.
Its death toll has jumped above 75,000, the seventh highest in the world..