General curfew at 6 p.m. on Saturday for at least two weeks and reinforced border controls: Jean Castex unveiled on Thursday, January 14 new restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus in France and announced an expansion of the vaccination campaign from Monday.
The Prime Minister considered that the epidemic situation was “Controlled” more « fragile » in France. Ten months after the appearance of the first cases of Covid-19 on the territory, the circulation of the virus is certainly less important than in other European countries which have decided to reconfine, but the appearance of variants of the virus, more contagious, acts like a scarecrow.
“If we observe a strong epidemic deterioration, we would be led to decide without delay on a new containment”, warned Jean Castex during the press conference he held alongside six members of the government: the ministers of health, Olivier Véran, of education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, of the economy, Bruno Le Mayor, Culture, Roselyne Bachelot, Higher Education, Frédérique Vidal, and Labor, Elisabeth Borne.
No department has an incidence rate of less than 50 per 100,000 inhabitants, recalls Jean Castex, “Viral circulation concerns the whole territory”. “The first data available to us show that we were able to spend the end of year holidays without an epidemic outbreak”, he congratulated himself, however, noting that France remained “On a high plateau, with a weekly average fluctuating around 16,000 contaminations per day”.
General curfew at 6 p.m. from Saturday
In the immediate future, the application of the curfew at 6 p.m., already in force in 25 departments, will be extended to the entire metropolitan territory at “From this Saturday and for at least two weeks” in “Preventive braking logic”.
“It appears from the data available to date that this measure has health efficiency: in the first fifteen departments where the curfew was implemented at 6 p.m. from January 2, the increase in the number of new cases is two or even three times lower than in other metropolitan departments ”, argued Jean Castex.
“With the exceptions related to public service missions, all places, businesses or services open to the public will be closed at 6 pm”, said Jean Castex. This measure, which was expected, “Aims to further reduce social contact at the end of the day, while allowing the maintenance of economic, educational and travel activities during the day”.
Entry conditions in France “strongly tightened” from Monday
France will “Strongly harden” from Monday the conditions for entry into France, in particular by requiring a negative test for Covid-19 for all travelers from a country outside the European Union (EU), announced Jean Castex, for ” to avoid “ as the variant strain of the virus “Does not progress quickly” on the territory.
From Monday, all travelers wishing to come to France from a non-EU country “Will have to present a negative test to board a plane or a boat”, he said. The people concerned will also have to undertake on their honor to isolate themselves for seven days once they arrive in France, then to repeat a second PCR test at the end of this isolation.
The negative test has already been claimed for travelers coming from the United Kingdom, where the British variant, which is particularly contagious, circulates.
People who cannot take a test in their country of departure will have the opportunity to be tested on their arrival in France and will be forced “To isolate oneself for seven days in a hotel designated by the State”.
Jean Castex specified that for travel from an EU country, “And in particular countries like Ireland and Denmark facing a difficult epidemic situation (…), ministers will work on the development of a coordination framework for the next European Council on January 21 ”.
Emergency restriction measures will be put in place in Guyana as well as in Mayotte and Reunion, to protect them from the risky variants of Covid-19 circulating there, Jean Castex stipulated on Thursday. In Guyana, “Border control will be reinforced and negative tests will be required” to reach the Antilles and the metropolis.
Schools remain open, health protocol reinforced
“We want to do everything to avoid” the closure of schools, said the head of government, who announced the strengthening of the health protocol in school canteens. Indoor and extra-curricular physical activities will be suspended ” until further notice “ to face the epidemic, underlined Jean Castex.
Increased vigilance will be put in place in the canteen, “Weak link in the organization since it is the moment when you take off your mask”, resumed the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer. In primary schools, “There will be no brewing possible” : students in the same class will eat together every day. If this is not possible, the restore time will be “Lying down” and “As a last resort we can have take-out meal solutions”, said the minister.
In colleges, if the pressure is too strong, the service time may be lengthened or take-out meals offered.
In high school, hybrid education set up in November, which was to end on January 20, will be extended. But Mr. Blanquer pleads for a “Increased vigilance” for the final which pass the bac and should therefore be preferred for face-to-face lessons. In college, he explained that “Exceptional title”, in the event of very strong constraints, the hybrid mode could be authorized for pupils of 4e and 3e.
Screening capacities will also be greatly strengthened, with the objective of 300,000 tests carried out per week in schools.
Universities: resumption by half-groups of tutorials in 1re year from January 25
First-year students at the university will be able to take the tutorial in person in half-groups from January 25. This measure will then extend, “If the health situation allows it, to students of other levels”, added the Prime Minister, expressing the “Concern” government facing “Deep feeling of isolation, but also [aux] real educational difficulties ” encountered by students.
“It is imperative that we can progressively trace this path together which will allow us to go from a majority of remote teaching to a majority of face-to-face lessons, in accordance with what the Prime Minister has just announced and with due respect of the university calendar “, continued the Minister of Higher Education, Frédérique Vidal. Jean Castex declared that he would receive from Friday morning the university community and the student union organizations alongside Mr.me Vidal, “To specify the conditions and modalities of the evolutions of a progressive face-to-face return”.
Vaccination opens Monday for people with high-risk pathologies
People with pathologies “High risk” will be able to be vaccinated against Covid-19 from Monday in one of the « 700 centres » vaccination open from that date on the territory, said Thursday Jean Castex.
Besides the over 75s, nearly 800,000 people “Suffering from particularly serious diseases” will be able to receive the vaccine, in particular people suffering from severe renal insufficiency, those having been transplanted from an organ, people under treatment for cancer or even those with Down’s syndrome, detailed the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, at the government’s weekly press conference.
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