French PM: All Covid restrictions remain in place, France-UK border closed

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French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday that all public venues currently closed would remain so until at least 20 January. He also said the border with Britain will remain closed until further notice in a bid to combat the new strain of Covid-19.

As expected, prime minister Jean Castex announced that all facilities currently closed in France will remain closed and that the situation for theatres, gyms and ski stations will be reviewed on 20 January.

Bars and restaurants can not expect to open before mid February, he said.

The 8 pm curfew also remains in place.

The French government has decided, however to keep schools open for the foreseeable future.

Health minister Olivier Véran defended the government’s vaccine rollout and said it had been simplified with the aim of having a million people vaccinated by the end of January.

He announced that from 18 January those over 75 in France will be eligible for vaccinations as will handicapped citizens living in special care centres.

New strain a concern

Two clusters of the new strain, which is much more contagious than the original, have been detected in France according to the health ministry.

The clusters were located in Brittany in western France and in the Paris region.

A total of 19 cases with the new variant have been confirmed in France, as well as three cases of people infected by another new strain, first spotted in South Africa.

Castex said that just over 15,000 cases of Covid-19 are currently being detected daily in France and 25,000 people are currently in hospital with the virus. Fifty per cent of the patients in intensive care have Covid.

Delay second dose

France has decided to follow Britain’s example and delay administering the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, so that more people can be given a first dose.

The government hopes that by the beginning of the summer most people who wish to will have been vaccinated.

A total of 66,565 people so far have died from the virus in France.