- Nightclubs to close for four weeks
- More home-working encouraged but not enforced
- Stricter rules in schools around masks and canteens
- People encouraged to limit gatherings over Christmas
- No limits imposed on bars, restaurants
- Over 65s can get booster without appointment
particular, Prime Minister Jean Castex said Monday.
Whilst no new restrictions or capacity limits were brought in for bars and restaurants the government did decide to tighten some rules including around night life, with clubs and discotheques to close for four weeks from Friday 11th December.
PM Jean Castex and Health Minister Olivier Véran held a press conference at 7pm on Monday to update the country to the health situation.
“The virus is spreading throughout the country… but the situation is not the same as last year,” said Castex. “This fifth wave requires measures of vigilance because the virus is circling at speed.”
But he said to introduce a lockdown or curfew at this point would be “disproportionate”.
Limit social interactions
Castex called on people to “lift the pedal” on social interactions such as office parties as
the year-end holidays approach.
And health passes proving Covid vaccination or inoculation will now be required for eating in reserved zones at outdoor Christmas markets, he said.
“The situation demands an individual as well as a collective effort,” he said
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As far as booster doses are concerned, over 65s will now be able to simply turn up to vaccination centres to receive a shot, and will not require an appointment. The same goes for anyone who want to receive their very first dose of anti-Covid vaccine.
On the sensitive subject of vaccines for 5 to 11 year olds, the French PM said the most vulnerable children such as those who are overweight could access the Covid jab from December 15th.
For all other children the government will wait for scientists and health chiefs to give their verdict but that may happen by the end of the month.
Castex emphasised the need for widespread vaccination and booster shots for those who have already had the jabs, and encourage working from home to avoid the need for curfews or travel restrictions ahead of the holidays.
The French PM called for more home-working over the Christmas period and for festive parties and other social gatherings to be delayed until after the fifth wave has passed.
He said companies should ask employees to work form home two to three days a week where possible and limit meetings. If businesses do not respect this recommendation, it may become law.
“All eligible companies who can impose home-working should do,” Castex said.
The government has decided not to bring forward the Christmas holidays by a week but will strengthen its Covid-19 response in schools, moving from level 2 to level 3 on a scale set out at the beginning of the school year.
Such a move makes wearing facemasks indoors and outdoors compulsory from primary school age, imposes stricter rules in school canteens, and adds additional measures for physical and sporting activities.
At the end of November, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer made a number of changes to the Covid-19 protocol in French schools, which are aimed at keeping as many classes open as possible.
What is the current picture?
A total 42,252 new cases of Covid-19 contamination were detected in the past 24 hours, with 49 deaths, according to Santé publique France. Over the last seven days, the average of new daily cases stands at 42,459, compared to less than 28,000 a week ago.
More than 11,500 people are now hospitalised with the virus in France, including 2,066 in intensive care. The influential Pasteur Institute has forecast that the number of Covid patients in ICU could pass 3,000 by December 12th.
But appointments for vaccinations are proving hard to obtain in Paris and other large cities amid the rush for boosters, according to the Doctolib reservation site.
Some 10 million people have already had the booster jabs.
France has confirmed only 25 cases of the new Omicron variant but officials. The fifth wave is expected to peak in January at the earliest.