Extended curfew planned but schools remain open

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The current curfew across France is expected to be extended from tomorrow and new rules introduced in schools, as ministers meet today to discuss how to ‘slow’ the spread of the UK variant of Covid-19.
Defense Council ministers will meet today to discuss possible measures, with their final decision to be announced by Prime Minister Jean Castex at a press conference tomorrow.

Government sources have suggested that more departments will have their curfews extended to start at 6:00 p.m. – in addition to the 25 departments that are already the case. This rule could even be extended to the whole country.

Currently, it starts at 8:00 p.m. in most departments, except 25 in the east and southeast, where the start time has already been moved to 6:00 p.m. This is considered the most likely decision of today’s meeting.

Read more: The curfew has progressed in more regions of France thanks to the discovery of a new cluster

A full national lockdown can also be discussed, but it is unlikely to be introduced at this point. Mr Castex previously said the public has been “well behaved” and currently “the curfew is sufficient”.

Learn more about the topics of discussion expected at today’s ministerial meeting

Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, president of the governmental advisory body The Scientific Council, declared: “The aim is not to block [the new UK variant] but to slow it down.

He previously said France was around two months behind the UK in terms of spread.

He warned that the new variant – considered 50 to 75% more contagious than the previous version – would easily spread throughout France “if action was not taken”.

Schools remain open but new rules are recommended

The government is also expected to keep schools open, but introduce new measures to help slow the spread of the virus.

Professor Delfraissy said news service FranceInfo: “We recommend to continue with the openings of schools … We do not think that the British data on the spread of the virus are sufficiently clear to push us to close schools in France. ”

Still, he recommended a tightening of the rules on closing classes if positive cases of the new variant are found. Currently, classes in schools must close if three positive cases of Covid-19 are confirmed, but the professor said that threshold should be lowered if the new variant is detected.

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