France is expanding vaccination against Covid-19 to all adults from May 31, ahead of the original target

Anyone in France 18 and older will be able to get vaccinated against Covid-19 from May 31, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday, about two weeks before the originally scheduled date of June 15.

Castex announced the new date on Thursday during a visit to a vaccination center.

He added that those working in designated priority professions in the public or private sector, including teachers, police officers, cashiers and bus drivers, would be eligible as of May 24.

The government recently relaxed the conditions and age limits for getting the vaccine to stay on track to meet vaccination goals.

The French gleefully went back to cafes, cinemas and museums on Wednesday as the country relaxed restrictions in a return to semi-normality after more than six months of Covid-19 curbs. The long-standing 7pm curfew was pushed back to 9pm.

Cafés and restaurants with terraces or roof gardens can now offer outdoor dining, as part of the second phase of a revival plan that should culminate in a full reopening of the economy on June 30.

>> Read more: Parisians, sipping in the rain, flock to beloved cafes after the closure of Covid-19

Museums, cinemas and some theaters also reopen after being closed for 203 days. Non-essentials, from toy to clothing stores, which had been closed since early April, also reopened on Wednesday.

The relaxation of restrictions is as a serious third wave of Covid-19 infections continues to decline. The number of patients in intensive care fell to 3,862 on Wednesday, from about 6,000 a month ago. In the past seven days, the number of new cases has dropped by 18 percent.

After a slow start, government vaccination rates have accelerated, with more than 21.5 million people, nearly a third of the population, receiving at least one injection.

“If we manage to organize, vaccinate and maintain collective discipline, then there is no reason we cannot move forward,” Macron said.

But he added, “We must remain strict on the issue of variants,” the new and sometimes more virulent strains of the original Covid-19 virus.

( Jowharwith AFP and REUTERS)

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