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Covid-19: France starts national curfew

French Prime Minister Jean Castex Image: Pool / AFP

On a snowy evening, France began to apply a national curfew from 6 pm to 6 am this Saturday (16), in an attempt to curb the Covid-19 epidemic. A tightening of sanitary rules that traders comply with resignation, while Prime Minister Jean Castex calls for calm during vaccination in the country.

Any displacement within the new curfew time needs to be justified. The ban on leaving the house, except for exceptional reasons, was brought forward by two hours across France, until January 31, to combat the epidemic of coronavirus and the spread of the British variant, which is more contagious, and already in circulation in the country.

The exceptions to leaving home remain the same as before (work, doctor’s appointment, picking up children from school, buying food, or other compelling reason). However, businesses and commerce must now close their doors at 6pm.

Bad news for traders, a few days before the start of winter sales. The situation is also complicated for restaurants, which are closed until mid-February, and are trying to survive thanks to orders for deliveries.

Shortly after 6 pm, the streets of Pantin, on the outskirts of Paris, still partially covered with snow, gradually emptied out. However, they were not yet completely deserted: the customers returned home with their purchases.

“It is an annoyance. Our movement will reduce. Today, customers came in force before closing time,” said Vanessa A, a saleswoman at a telephone store. Normally, “most people arrive after 5 pm, after work, so it’s not good for us. But we respect the government’s decision, we prefer that to a lockdown “, she says.

390 thousand French vaccinated

On a visit to Lyon to promote the government’s recovery plan, French Prime Minister Jean Castex revealed that 390,000 people have so far been vaccinated in France and that one million vaccination appointments have been made. Castex called for a vaccination “calmly”, recognizing that the five million people over 75 years old could not be vaccinated “in a matter of days”.

Mayotte City Hall, a French department located in an archipelago of the Indian Ocean, confirmed on Saturday a first case of the South African variant and announced the suspension of international sea and air connections for 15 days, starting on Sunday (17).

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in France remains high, with about 20,000 infections every 24 hours since the beginning of the year. The balance is far from the 5,000 cases expected in mid-December by the government.

Next Monday (18), 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 kidney failure, cancer being treated, etc.)

More than 800 vaccination centers are “open and accessible to make an appointment,” guaranteed Health Minister Olivier VĂ©ran. However, many French people have struggled to schedule the vaccination date because the demand for the dose is high at the beginning of the campaign.

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