The executive ruled on Thursday on new restrictions in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic. Between a re-containment or a general curfew at 6 p.m., the government preferred the second option. The measure will apply from Saturday, January 16 “for at least two weeks,” said Jean Castex, at a press conference, the day after a new Health Defense Council.
Of the 96 departments in mainland France, 25, mainly in the East, were already affected by the anticipated curfew. In these territories, “the increase in the number of new cases is two to three times lower” than in areas where the curfew begins at 8 pm, said the Prime Minister. “It appears that this measure has health efficiency,” he concluded.
From January 16, businesses, excluding pharmacies, but also all public cultural establishments, such as libraries, will have to close at 6 p.m. Extracurricular activities will not be allowed after this time. As a reminder, any violation of the curfew is punishable by a fine of 135 euros and up to 3,750 euros in the event of a repeat offense. The exceptional travel certificate does not change.
The decision to advance the two-hour curfew for the rest of the country was awaited. “In all the departments that have adapted this measure, with ten days of hindsight, we have an increase in the incidence rate of 16%, while the others have an increase of 43%”, had underlined earlier this Thursday the Minister of Health Olivier Véran.
“The Scientific Council confirmed the usefulness of the curfew,” said Jean Castex at a press conference, indicating that the situation in France was “under control compared to what we observe in our neighbors”, but “fragile because the virus is still actively circulating in our territory ”, especially with the new strains of the virus. “If we notice in the coming days a sharp deterioration in the health situation, we will immediately decide on a new confinement”, warned the Prime Minister.
About 20,000 new cases of Covid-19 are recorded every day in France – more than 23,000 Wednesday -, far from the 5,000 hoped for in mid-December by the government. And the hospital pressure does not weaken. According to a latest report, more than 247,000 people received their first injection of the vaccine, while France had last week one million doses of the product Pfizer / BioNTech.