The French prime minister is expected to announce a toughening of current coronavirus lockdown rules at a press conference in Paris on Thursday.

Jean Castex will argue that in order to ‘save’ Christmas, more hardship will need to be endured for the next few weeks. So far, the lockdown introduced two weeks ago has failed to dent the coronavirus numbers, which on Tuesday saw 472 hospital deaths.

Certainly, there will be no re-opening of non-essential shops, as had been hoped.

Police checks on those who are out and about will be tightened, and, controversially, checks will also be made in business premises to ascertain whether employees should be working from home rather than being physically present in the workplace.

But there is little time to dent the numbers before the Christmas holidays, and the most likely scenario is that lockdown will continue in its harsher form until at least December 10 with a brief relaxation for little more than two weeks.

PHOTO: PM jean Castex