Government says Covid situation in France is fragile, but lockdown not inevitable

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The Covid-19 situation in France remains fragile but a new national lockdown is not necessarily inevitable, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Attal said that while the figures for new Covid-19 cases were high, and even though the emergence of new variants was worrying, the overall situation was stable.

"A lockdown is not predestined, and our collective efforts will allow us to avoid this," Attal said.

He also pointed to the fact that the curfew has been beneficial to keep the figures in check.

His comments came shortly after President Emmanuel Macron held a health security council meeting with chief advisors.

Attal added that for now, there were no plans to change the February school holiday calendar - seen as a key precursor to any later moves towards a full national lockdown.

For the time being, French holiday makers will be allowed to visit other regions across the country, including ski resorts, however ski lifts remain closed for now.

Restrictions have been brought in for travel abroad, including the overseas territories where tourism has been put on hold. Only travellers with valid exemptions, for family or work reasons will be allowed to fly.

France, which has the seventh-biggest Covid-19 death toll in the world, has opted to stick with its current 6 pm.-6 am curfew, instead of going for the fuller lockdowns seen in the likes of the United Kingdom and Germany.

France has more than 3.2 million confirmed Covid-19 cases, and more than 77,000 deaths.

Prime Minister Jean Castex and health minister Olivier Véran will hold a joint press conference on Thursday evening.