France expects stricter Covid rules despite sharp rise in cases: report

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France expects stricter Covid rules despite sharp rise in cases: report


French authorities have decided to suspend the imposition of stricter measures to counter a sharp rise in Covid infections which has seen several hospitals announce emergency protocols as beds fill up, a source told AFP on Monday. government.

Social distancing and the wearing of face masks will be extended in schools as cases skyrocket, especially among children, the source said after President Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet meeting to discuss the fifth wave of infections.

But France will not close schools earlier for the Christmas holidays, like in Belgium, nor impose stricter rules like other European countries have done in recent days.

Prime Minister Jean Castex, released from quarantine last week after contracting the Covid, and Health Minister Olivier Veran are due to hold a press conference on the crisis.

They will emphasize the need for widespread vaccination and booster shots for those who have already received the vaccine, and will encourage working from home to avoid the need for curfews or travel restrictions before the holidays, said The source.

Vaccinations for children aged 5 to 12 could also be opened, although the French health advisory body has yet to render its decision on the move.

“By being vigilant and responsible, we have the means to spend Christmas together,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told the Paris newspaper on Sunday.

But appointments for vaccinations are proving difficult to secure in Paris and other major cities amid the rush for recalls, according to booking site Doctolib.

Some 10 million people have already had the booster shots.

France has only confirmed 25 cases of the new Omicron variant, but officials say the number could increase dramatically in the coming weeks.

On Sunday, the health ministry reported more than 42,000 cases in the past 24 hours and more than 11,000 hospital patients – the highest number since August – including 2,000 in intensive care.

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