The French government announced on Thursday that it would delay the abolition of certain Covid-19 restrictions in lock-in next week amid signs that the downward trend in new infections had leveled off.
Prime Minister Jean Castex said the government would lift a restriction on the popular movement from December 15 but replace it with a curfew, including on New Year’s Eve.
Castex said families would be allowed to travel to celebrate Christmas together but said museums, theaters and cinemas would remain closed for another three weeks as the number of new infections in Covid-19 slowly began to rise again.
The situation has “significantly improved” since the country went into a second shutdown on October 30, the prime minister said, noting that the number of new infections had dropped from nearly 50,000 a day by the end of October to about 10,000.
But the decline “has slowed in recent days,” Castex added. “We’re on a kind of plateau … We can not let down our guard.”
Health Minister Olivier Véran admitted that France would be far from its target of a maximum of 5,000 new cases per day until Tuesday, when the lock-in period was scheduled to end.
On Thursday, the country registered nearly 14,000 infections in the previous day, compared to 12,000 a week earlier, he said.
“We have still not come out of the second wave” of the epidemic, he said, adding that it was necessary to prevent large gatherings on New Year’s Eve to prevent a rebound and a possible third lock-in in 2021,
The total number of deaths in France since the pandemic began is over 55,000.
( Jowharwith AFP, REUTERS)