France strengthened border controls and prolonged a curfew to your entire nation on Thursday to maintain the coronavirus in test, however authorities warned that new restrictions had been doable within the coming days if the epidemic worsened.
Beginning subsequent Monday, all vacationers coming to France from international locations exterior of the European Union should current proof of a destructive virus take a look at that’s no older than 72 hours, and should pledge to isolate for seven days earlier than getting examined once more, though it’s unclear how that measure might be enforced. France will work with different European Union international locations within the coming weeks on a coordinated protocol for journey from member states, based on Jean Castex, the French prime minister.
Mr. Castex praised the French for following distancing guidelines over the winter holidays, noting that well being authorities had not recorded an “epidemic flare-up” tied to Christmas or New 12 months’s Eve celebrations. However he additionally mentioned authorities had been involved about new variants of the virus, particularly the extra contagious one first recognized in Britain.
“We should do all the pieces to forestall it from quickly spreading,” Mr. Castex mentioned.
The average number of daily cases in France is at about 16,000, Mr. Castex mentioned — far lower than on the peak of the second wave final fall, however nonetheless over 3 times the goal set by the federal government to loosen restrictions. Hospitalizations have stabilized at a excessive plateau, with practically 25,000 Covid-19 sufferers. Almost 70,000 folks have died due to the virus.
An eight p.m. curfew was already in place in most of France and had been tightened to six p.m. in some areas. Beginning on Saturday and for no less than 15 days, barring sure exceptions, everybody should be residence by 6 p.m., Mr. Castex mentioned, and retailers should shut by then. The federal government vowed to proceed offering furlough applications, subsidies, mortgage ensures and tax breaks to struggling companies.
Faculties, nonetheless, will stay open with stricter well being protocols, by stopping courses from mixing in cafeterias, for example, and by suspending all indoor bodily exercise. Moreover, France mentioned on Thursday that it deliberate to check as much as one million faculty kids and lecturers each month for the virus.
Olivier Véran, France’s well being minister, mentioned exams could be carried out “in all places the place it is sensible” and would come with schoolchildren age 6 and older.
“What we all know up to now is that certainly the virus appears extra contagious amongst kids,” Mr. Véran advised reporters. Mr. Véran mentioned the federal government was “carefully” watching the unfold of the variant, which was reported in about 1 % of all constructive virus exams in France over two days final week, based on the well being authorities.
France has additionally ramped up its vaccination rollout after a sluggish begin, with some 318,000 folks vaccinated up to now. The marketing campaign had targeted on well being employees and residents of nursing or retirement houses, however Mr. Castex mentioned it might speed up on Monday as vaccines might be made obtainable to folks over 75 and to these thought of in danger due to severe diseases. Some 700 vaccination facilities might be opened to deal with the inflow of recent sufferers.
“The precedence of priorities to exit this disaster is the usage of vaccination,” Mr. Castex mentioned. “However we should collectively present persistence and duty, as a result of vaccination won’t shield us sufficiently till a number of extra months.”