The French Riviera, which includes the city of Nice, has the country’s highest infection rate, and officials have grown increasingly alarmed as they surged to 600 cases per week per 100,000 residents — about three times the national rate.
“The epidemic situation has sharply deteriorated,” Bernard Gonzalez, a regional official for the Alpes-Maritimes area, said on Monday as he announced the lockdown, which will affect the coastal area between the cities of Menton and Théoule-sur-Mer.
Officials said that controls at the border with Italy, in airports and on roads would be toughened and that the police would carry out random coronavirus tests. New measures also include a closure of all larger shops and an acceleration of the vaccination campaign.
Infection rates surged as many French people flocked to the coast, attracted by the temperate Mediterranean weather as they sought to escape gloomy cities like Paris.
“We will be happy to receive lots of tourists this summer, once we win this battle,” Christian Estrosi, the mayor of Nice, said last week. “But it is better to have a period while we say ‘Do not come here, this is not the moment.’”