France under evening curfew from 6 p.m.



Covid-19: France under evening curfew from 6 p.m.


© BENOIT TESSIER
Covid-19: France under evening curfew from 6 p.m.

It is a transition to special winter time: France advances Saturday by two hours the curfew, now set at 6:00 p.m. throughout its territory, in a race against time to vaccinate the population and try stop the Covid-19 epidemic.

It is a transition to special winter time: France advances Saturday by two hours the curfew, now set at 6:00 p.m. throughout its territory, in a race against time to vaccinate the population and try stop the Covid-19 epidemic.

Already in force in 25 departments, the curfew at 6:00 p.m. has been extended to the entire metropolitan territory from “from this Saturday and for at least 15 days”, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday.

Because the number of cases remains high with 21,217 confirmed in 24 hours Friday, and about 20,000 new counted every day since the beginning of the year, far from the 5,000 hoped for in mid-December by the government, according to Public Health France.

The exemptions remain the same as before (business travel, for a medical appointment, for a compelling reason …) but the businesses will have to lower the curtain at 6:00 p.m.

Another bad news for the sector, a few days before the start of the sales. Also for restaurants, closed until mid-February and trying to survive thanks to take-out sales.

“We are constantly making efforts to adapt and we are still putting sticks in our wheels”, railed Benjamin Nieto, owner of the restaurant “Chez Lucien” in the Croix-Rousse district in Lyon.

“A lot of people don’t finish working at 6:00 pm, let alone before, and won’t be able to come and get their meals,” “it’s a bit discouraging,” he lamented. Faced with the threat of new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus, the government needs to “further reduce social contacts at the end of the day”.

Schools will remain open but indoor school and extracurricular sports activities are suspended and the health protocol in canteens will be reinforced. And the advancement of the curfew does not protect from a new confinement “if we observe a strong epidemic deterioration”, warned Jean Castex.

389,000 vaccinated

These restrictions are driven by the arrival of new variants of the coronavirus, which have emerged in England and South Africa. Probably more contagious, they have already forced several countries on the European continent to reconfigure themselves.

It remains to be seen whether the effectiveness of the advanced curfew will be sufficient to curb the epidemic. In an opinion given to the government on January 12 and made public on Friday, the Scientific Council went so far as to recommend a “limitation of travel” between regions, or even confinement in the most risky places.

So far, 87 cases of contamination by the English variant (suspected of being more contagious) and four cases of contamination by the South African variant (suspected of being more contagious and of reducing the effectiveness of the vaccine) have been identified in France, according to the Ministry of Health.

If the English variant only seems responsible for “1 to 2% of the cases of Covid-19 currently diagnosed in France”, according to Public Health France, it is “inevitable” that this mutant virus will replace the classic coronavirus within two to three months, warned virologist Bruno Lina, who coordinates the mapping of this variant. In an attempt to curb the epidemic before the variants ramp up, the race against time continues to vaccinate the population.

Almost 389,000 people received the first injection. Monday, the vaccination campaign will be extended to people over 75 years of age who do not live in nursing homes, as well as to people with high-risk pathologies (chronic renal failure, cancer under treatment, etc.).

Friday, 833 centers were “open and accessible for reservation”, assured the Minister of Health Olivier Véran. However, making an appointment, possible since Thursday morning, is sometimes akin to an obstacle course, even if “more than a million appointments were made on Friday”, according to the Ministry of Health.

The sante.fr site, which was initially to redirect to one of the three private booking platforms, only displayed a list of vaccination locations by department on Friday. And the vaccination windows of many centers were full on Friday evening. In Rennes, the service set up by the City received more than 5,000 calls, and the 1,500 vaccination slots available over the next two weeks have been reserved.

(With AFP)

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