The French government will impose a nationwide curfew at 6pm for at least 15 days beginning on Saturday to stop the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday. The health service will also start offering a Covid-19 vaccine to people at high risk from Monday, regardless of age.
Most of France has had a curfew at 8pm, with some parts of the country, especially in the hard-hit eastern region, already under the stricter curfew at 6pm to stop the tide of coronavirus infections.
Castex said a much-feared influx of infection after the weekend had not happened, but said a new lock could be introduced “without delay” if the health situation deteriorated badly.
The situation in France is “under control”, he said, but remains “fragile”.
Schools will remain open but indoor sports activities have once again been banned for now. As part of its strategy to keep schools open, Castex said at least one million Covid-19 tests a month would be conducted in schools.
He also said that from January 25, first-year students in higher education would be allowed to attend courses on campus in small groups.
The Prime Minister also announced that travelers arriving in France from destinations outside the EU will need to present a negative Covid-19 test that is less than 72 hours old and will need to self-isolate for seven days. They would then need to take a second test.
At the same new conference, Minister of Health Olivier Véran said that approximately 6.4 million people with pre-existing health conditions that put them at high risk will be able to be vaccinated, regardless of age, starting on Monday. However, they will require a prescription from a doctor, he said.
Covid-19 has claimed more than 69,000 lives in France, the seventh highest death toll in the world.
( Jowharwith AFP and REUTERS)