The British variant accounts for “about half” of France’s Covid-19 cases, says PM

The more contagious British variant “now accounts for about half of the people infected with Covid-19 in France,” Prime Minister Jean Castex told a news conference on Thursday. The same variant had represented less than 40 percent of the cases according to figures released a week ago.

Castex also said France could introduce new measures, including weekend breaks in Paris and 19 other departments in the country from early March if coronavirus cases continue to escalate.

The Prime Minister said that a new nationwide lock was not on the agenda, but that French citizens must be vigilant to ensure that they contain the spread of the virus while vaccines are being rolled out.

In a TV address, Castex said the spread was worrying in 20 French departments – the country’s administrative regions – including Paris and the surrounding capital.

He said that these departments would now be subject to increased scrutiny by public health authorities.

# COVID19 | 20 departments have been asleep under forced surveillance. The prefects concerned will engage in consultations with the elusive bidding without attending to the most vigilant residents and envisage additional release measures.

– Government (@gouvernementFR) 25 February 2021

If the rate of infection continues to increase in these areas for the next week, measures will be taken from 6 March, similar to those in the cities of Nice and Dunkirk.

There, local authorities have introduced home orders on the weekends, intensified checks at airports, combated people who gather in public places and tightened the rules for wearing masks outside.

( Jowharwith REUTERS, AFP)