France announces new anti-Covid measures

A resident talks with a medical staff in front of a fast COVID-19 test screening tent in Paris, France.

Paris, (Asian independent) Amid the ongoing fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the French government has announced new measures in an attempt to curb the rising number of confirmed cases in the country.

On Monday, the government ordered the closure of nightclubs for four weeks starting this weekend, extended the mandatory use of face masks in schools, urged businesses to encourage teleworking and opened its vaccination program to children, reports Xinhua news agency.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said after a meeting of the Defence and National Security Council that his government aims to “conserve and even amplify, strengthen” the vaccine shield that currently protects the population.

He reiterated his call for people to get vaccinated, accept a booster shot and heed the preventive measures.

In France, those older than 65 can now get a booster shot without appointments.

According to the latest figures, 51 million French citizens have already been fully vaccinated.

In the country’s schools, the government has tightened the sanitary protocol as in less than 24 hours the Education Ministry reported 6,261 new cases among children in the six to ten-year age group.

Accordingly, the wearing of face masks is again mandatory both indoors and outdoors at school, and outdoor activities are also restricted.

Castex said that vulnerable children will be able to receive their first vaccine dose from December 15 and that the voluntary inoculation of all kids is planned to start before the end of the year.

Also on Monday, Health Minister Olivier Veran said coronavirus is circulating faster in France than during the peak of the third wave.

According to him, the fifth wave of the pandemic is progressing rapidly in France.

“More than 2,200 patients are currently in the intensive care units of our hospitals, severely ill with Covid-19,” Veran said.

Meanwhile, over 12,000 patients are currently hospitalized.

In the past 24 hours, 192 Covid deaths were recorded in the country, according to the Public Health Agency.

The fifth wave of the pandemic in France is still triggered by the Delta variant, but the government said it would pay close attention to the progress of the Omicron strain.

“It appears that this variant (Omicron) is much more contagious than the Delta variant, which itself is more contagious than the previous ones,” Veran explained.

However, he added that there is no clinical evidence that the Omicron variant is more dangerous than the Delta variant.

France has so far recorded 25 cases of the Omicron variant.