The head of the French government, Jean Castex, announced the introduction of new anti-epidemic restrictions. The list includes tightening the sanitation protocol in schools, extending remote work, restricting events and starting vaccinations for children aged 5-11 from so-called at-risk groups as early as December 15.
– We are in the fifth wave of the pandemic and we must continue vaccinating against the coronavirus – emphasized the head of government at a press conference.
So far in France, adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. Vaccinations of children aged 5-11 from outside of vulnerable groups will be initiated after consultation with scientists, Castex informed. Vaccinations for children will not be compulsory, said Health Minister Olivier Veran, adding that 80 children are currently hospitalized in France, including 15 in intensive care units.
In schools, the prime minister announced the introduction of a sanitary protocol, the so-called 3rd degree, which means, among others stricter obligation to wear masks also during sports activities and in open spaces, and not only during lessons and in closed spaces, as before. Classes will be closed after three coronavirus cases in the same class are identified.
Castex also announced the lifting of the obligation to register booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines for people over 65 years of age. Moreover, the prime minister recommended companies to return to remote work. – All companies that can, should allow their employees two to three days a week to work remotely. Public officials will work remotely for up to three days, said Castex.
When it comes to festive events and feasts, including trips and seminars, the head of government recommended that they be abandoned. From Friday, discos in France will be closed for four weeks, and the prime minister announced tightening the control of sanitary passports and ruled out eating in public places where this document is not controlled. However, Castex ruled out the introduction of a nationwide lockdown and a curfew.
Variant of omicron
For his part, Veran said that 25 positive cases of the omicron coronavirus variant have been registered in France, of which 21 are from people returning from South Africa and four others were the result of a local infection.
Veran said the omicron variant “appears to be much more infectious than the delta variant.” He also said that the country will be able to vaccinate all children aged 5 to 11 against COVID-19 from December 20, provided that the health service gives the “green light”.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / THOMAS SAMSON