France is considering tighter restrictions for the economically powerful Paris region to contain the coronavirus.
Speaking on Tuesday, Prime Minister Jean Castex declined to be specific, but said deteriorating indicators pushed the government to work on a possible lockdown over the weekends. The government will discuss possible restrictions at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Castex said.
“The time has come to consider measures,” he said in an interview with BFM TV. “The situation in the Paris region is at a very precarious balance.”
The French capital has been under a nighttime curfew since mid-January with cafes, restaurants, bars and theaters closed in a bid to contain a resurgence in the infection rate.
But the infection rate still climbed. More than 400 people out of 100,000 in the Paris region tested positive last week, a threshold that Castex called alarming. Intensive care units in and around the capital are now almost full, forcing the state to transfer patients to other hospitals in the country.
France, like other countries, is counting on vaccines to bring the pandemic under control, but the suspension of the AstraZeneca Plc fired after health scare raises strategy doubts.France’s suspension followed a similar suspension by Germany and other EU countries to assess possible side effects, and came just hours after Castex himself said he trusted the vaccine. The country is ready to start using the vaccine again if the European Medicines Agency advises it is safe, which could happen on Thursday.
Castex has said on BFM that he hopes the EMA will approve Astra’s shot.
Read more: France and Italy signal they will allow AstraZeneca Vaccinate again
France’s vaccination campaign started at the end of December, focusing first on the elderly and the most vulnerable citizens. Less than 8% of the population has received at least one blow. President Emmanuel Macron previously said that all adults wishing to be vaccinated could do so by the end of the summer.
Despite the Astra vaccine delivery delays, France will have given the first vaccine of one of the vaccines to 10 million people by mid-April, Castex said. He promised he would get himself vaccinated with the Astra shot if the EMA found him safe.
– With the help of William Horobin
(Adds French vaccination targets and Castex vaccination promise.)