France tightens COVID-19 measures but no curfew for New Year’s Eve

France tightens COVID-19 measures but no curfew for New Year's Eve

PARIS: France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex and Health Minister Olivier Veran announced a series of new measures on Monday to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the New Year festivities and urged their countrymen to respect the preventive measures during the celebrations.

The country registered over 100,000 new COVID-19 cases on Dec 24 alone. On Monday, the Council of Ministers and the Public Health Defense Council both held meetings, with President Emmanuel Macron presiding over the latter one.
Veran said that the Delta and Omicron coronavirus variants were both spreading in the country at unprecedented speed.

The fight against the Delta strain of the virus is ongoing, but the Omicron variant, which Veran said was “at least three times more contagious, ” is rapidly gaining steam.

He warned that hundreds of thousands of new daily cases could be expected in January. Castex said that the COVID-19 vaccines were effective in preventing severe COVID-19-related outcomes and urged people to get vaccinated. He said that the patients currently being treated in intensive care were all unvaccinated.

He said that people can now receive a COVID-19 booster shot three months after their initial jabs, reducing the guideline of four months to better fight the Omicron variant.

On Jan. 15, 2022, the French government plans to transform the health pass into a vaccine pass, which will serve as proof of vaccination and will enable people to take part in many everyday activities. For a vaccine pass to be valid, people must be fully vaccinated – a negative test will not be accepted.

The bill on the vaccine pass requires approval by the National Assembly and the Senate. Castex said that there will be no curfew in the country for New Year’s Eve. However, for three weeks after Jan. 3, indoor activities will be limited to 2,000 people and outdoor events to 5,000 people, and standing concerts will be prohibited.

From January, people will be mandated to work from home three days per week, Castex said.

Veran said that further measures will be announced on Dec. 30 and that the Public Health Defense Council will meet again on Jan. 5. (ANI/Xinhua) 

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