France will have to 'live with the virus over long term', PM says

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French Prime Minister Jean Castex said that the French government’s strategy to tackle the Covid-19 crisis is based on the principle of “living with the virus over the long term.”

Among the rules, he said that festive, family gatherings in party rooms will not be able to resume for a long time. “Likewise, bars and restaurants, which are also places of strong contamination will not be able to reopen from December 1,” he said.

He added that in the coming months, “teleworking will have to continue, on the basis of a balance to be found in companies.”

When asked about the announcement by Pfizer and BioNTech on its vaccine candidate being more than 90 percent effective, Castex advised caution.

“The prospect of a vaccine is drawing near. There is the Pfizer project, but also many others in the testing phase. We must prepare while remaining cautious,” he said.

He said that the country is actively preparing for the arrival of a future vaccine. “We are pursuing all leads and have already secured the orders. There has been very effective European action in this area.”

France is in the middle of a second wave of the Covid-19 epidemic. The disease has so far claimed more than 42,000 lives in the country. French President Emmanuel Macron had announced a month-long lockdown on October 28 to curb the circulation of the virus.