More than half of French flout new Covid-19 lockdown rules: Survey

French police officers patrol in the deserted Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Nov 7, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PARIS (AFP) - Over half of the French have broken the rules governing the second coronavirus lockdown, a survey showed on Thursday (Nov 12), half-way through the new confinement period.

The Ifop survey confirmed that the French are taking the second nationwide shutdown far less seriously than the first in March-April.

It showed that 60 per cent had flouted the rules at least once, either by giving a false reason for going out on their self-signed permission slip or by meeting family and friends.

The figure was far higher than during the first lockdown, when the proportion of rule-breakers stood at under 40 per cent during the first six weeks.

The most common transgression (24 per cent of respondents) was giving a false reason for going out on the permission slips that all citizens are required to download and fill out before leaving home.

Others flouted the rules by having family around to visit or went to visit family (24 per cent) or met up with friends (20 per cent).

Nine per cent of respondents said they ventured out to meet a current or prospective sexual partner, 3 percentage points more than during the first confinement period.

The survey also confirmed that the second lockdown, coming in the heart of winter, is taking a greater toll on public morale than the first.

Over one in four - 28 per cent - of those questioned said they were feeling blue, compared with one in five in March-April.

France, which has lost over 42,000 people to Covid-19, went back into lockdown on Oct 30 to try to tame a second wave of infections that experts warn could be deadlier than the first.

On Monday, the country recorded 551 deaths from the virus, the highest daily figures since the first wave in March and April.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Jean Castex will address reporters about the timid progress made on slowing the spread of virus in the past two weeks.

Small traders fighting for survival had been hoping he would use the occasion to announce that all shops selling non-essential items, such as books and flowers, could reopen.

But Health Minister Olivier Veran warned it was "too soon" to begin relaxing the restrictions.

"It's certainly not the moment to drop our guard," Mr Castex told Le Monde newspaper.

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