The French government will impose a nationwide 6pm curfew for at least 15 days starting on Saturday to stem the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday. Health authorities will also begin offering a Covid-19 vaccine to those at high risk from Monday regardless of age.
Castex said a much-feared infection surge following the year-end holidays had not happened, but said a new lockdown could be imposed “without delay” if the health situation were to deteriorate badly.
The situation in France is “under control”, he said, but remains “fragile”.
Schools will remain open but indoor sports activities have again been banned for now. As part of the strategy to keep schools open, Castex said at least one million Covid-19 tests per month would be carried out in schools.
He also said that, from January 25, first-year students in higher education would be allowed to attend courses on campuses in small groups.
The prime minister also announced that travellers arriving in France from non-EU destinations would have to present a negative Covid-19 test less than 72 hours old and would be required to self-isolate for seven days. They would then have to take a second test.
Speaking at the same new conference, Health Minister Olivier Véran said that around 6.4 million people with pre-existing health conditions that put them at high risk will be able to get vaccinated regardless of age starting on Monday. They will, however, 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.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)