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Public opinion

Public in France in favour of new lockdown as trust in government dips

People wearing protective face masks walk in a busy street in Paris as France reinforces mask-wearing in public places as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across France, September 18, 2020.
People wearing protective face masks walk in a busy street in Paris as France reinforces mask-wearing in public places as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across France, September 18, 2020. REUTERS - GONZALO FUENTES

A majority of people in France are overwhelmingly in favour of a new nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, a new poll shows. However, roughly the same amount question the government’s handling of the crisis.

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A new opinion poll published in the Sunday weekly Journal du Dimanche has revealed that the public’s anxiety surrounding Covid-19 remains high while confidence in the government’s ability to respond to the crisis has never been lower.

According to the survey, 72 percent of French citizens would be in favor of a new nationwide lockdown for a period of at least 15 days in a bid to contain the surge of coronavirus cases.

The findings appear to corroborate calls for a second lockdown, led notably by French-American economist and Nobel prize winner Esther Duflo.

She and fellow laureate Abhijit Banerjee told Le Monde that a lockdown before the Christmas break would help avoid new contaminations.

Declining government trust

The government this week announced stricter measures to curb the spread, shutting bars and restaurants in Marseille and its surrounding region, while limiting the maximum capacity of gatherings to 1,000 from 5,000 in Paris.

Not everyone though is convinced. Only 36 percent of citizens who were polled said they had faith in the government's response to the Covid-19 crisis, compared to 44 percent during the March-May lockdown.

The figures were slightly higher regarding the state's handling of the economic fallout of the pandemic. Forty-four percent said they trusted the government to help businesses recover. Six months ago however, that number was over 50 percent.

About 14,500 people have been found to be infected in the past 24 hours, with health officials warning that the situation is worsening.

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