France strengthened border controls and prolonged a curfew to your entire nation on Thursday to maintain the coronavirus in test, however authorities warned that new restrictions had been attainable within the coming days if the epidemic worsened.

Beginning subsequent Monday, all vacationers coming to France from nations exterior of the European Union should current proof of a destructive virus check that’s no older than 72 hours, and should pledge to isolate for seven days earlier than getting examined once more, though it’s unclear how that measure might be enforced. France will work with different European Union nations within the coming weeks on a coordinated protocol for journey from member states, based on Jean Castex, the French prime minister.

Mr. Castex praised the French for following distancing guidelines over the winter holidays, noting that well being authorities had not recorded an “epidemic flare-up” tied to Christmas or New Yr’s Eve celebrations. However he additionally stated authorities had been involved about new variants of the virus, particularly the extra contagious one first recognized in Britain.

“We should do every little thing to forestall it from quickly spreading,” Mr. Castex stated.

The average number of daily cases in France is at about 16,000, Mr. Castex stated — far lower than on the peak of the second wave final fall, however nonetheless over 3 times the goal set by the federal government to loosen restrictions. Hospitalizations have stabilized at a excessive plateau, with practically 25,000 Covid-19 sufferers. Almost 70,000 individuals have died due to the virus.

An 8 p.m. curfew was already in place in most of France and had been tightened to six p.m. in some areas. Beginning on Saturday and for at the very least 15 days, barring sure exceptions, everybody should be house by 6 p.m., Mr. Castex stated, and retailers should shut by then. The federal government vowed to proceed offering furlough applications, subsidies, mortgage ensures and tax breaks to struggling companies.

Faculties, nonetheless, will stay open with stricter well being protocols, by stopping lessons from mixing in cafeterias, as an example, and by suspending all indoor bodily exercise. Moreover, France stated on Thursday that it deliberate to check as much as 1,000,000 college youngsters and academics each month for the virus.

Olivier Véran, France’s well being minister, stated assessments can be carried out “in every single place the place it is smart” and would come with schoolchildren age 6 and older.

“What we all know to this point is that certainly the virus appears extra contagious amongst youngsters,” Mr. Véran advised reporters. Mr. Véran stated the federal government was “intently” watching the unfold of the variant, which was reported in about 1 % of all optimistic virus assessments in France over two days final week, based on the well being authorities.

France has additionally ramped up its vaccination rollout after a sluggish begin, with some 318,000 individuals vaccinated to this point. The marketing campaign had centered on well being employees and residents of nursing or retirement properties, however Mr. Castex stated it might speed up on Monday as vaccines might be made accessible to individuals over 75 and to these thought-about in danger due to critical sicknesses. Some 700 vaccination facilities might be opened to deal with the inflow of recent sufferers.

“The precedence of priorities to exit this disaster is the usage of vaccination,” Mr. Castex stated. “However we should collectively present persistence and duty, as a result of vaccination won’t defend us sufficiently till a number of extra months.”


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