Record-Breaking 438-Mile Traffic Jam In Paris As People Flee Ahead Of Second Lockdown
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Cars in Paris last night (29 October) brought the city to a standstill, with a record-breaking 438-mile traffic jam seen snaking through the capital just hours before France entered its second coronavirus lockdown.
Cars were seen queuing along the Sébastopol Boulevard in the centre of Paris on Thursday night, with figures from the official traffic monitoring website Sytadin showing that the line reached 438 miles (706km) - breaking the previous French record of 391 miles (629km), which was seen last December amid public transport strikes.
Twitter user Michael E. Webber shared aerial footage from Paris on social media, showing the sheer extent of the traffic last night.
He wrote: "Incredible traffic jam in Paris as people try to leave the city before 9pm curfew and before confinement begins at midnight.
"Traffic is barely moving in every direction as far as the eye can see. Lots of honking and frustrated drivers."
He added: "Restaurants are crowded, too, as people are going out to eat for what may be their last dinner out for at least one month (and maybe more)."
Many people were attempting to flee the capital city as new restrictions were brought in at midnight.
Under the new measures, people are no longer allowed to leave their house unless it is for essential work or medical reasons.
Schools and shops will remain open, but non-essential businesses including bars and restaurants have been ordered to close.
The lockdown comes as the number of coronavirus-related deaths continues to rise in France, with fears that hospitals are now buckling under the pressure.
President Macron said curfews in Paris and other major cities had failed to stem the tide of infections, saying in a televised statement: "Our target is simple: sharply reducing infections from 40,000 a day to 5,000 and slowing the pace of admissions to hospital and intensive care."
He added: "No matter what we do, nearly 9,000 people will be in intensive care by mid-November."
While Macron acknowledged that the new restrictions are 'heartbreaking', he said he 'could never stand by and see hundreds of thousands of our citizens die'.