French Prime Minister Castex announces new measures to curb Omicron, but schools will reopen as planned

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Monday that in response to a rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the government was reducing the delay for a third booster injection to three months from four, but there would be no touch of It remains for New Year’s Eve.

Castex also said that France’s health pass for access to restaurants, cinemas and more would become a vaccine pass from January 15, if the bill is approved by parliament as expected.

This would mean that “in the places where the pass is required, you must show that you are vaccinated in order to enter, a negative test result will no longer be accepted,” he said.

Among the additional measures, starting Monday and for the next three weeks, all public gatherings will be limited to 2,000 people for indoor events and 5,000 people for outdoor events.

The consumption of drinks and food will be banned in long-distance transport and home work will be compulsory for at least three days a week whenever possible, the prime minister said.

The use of a mask will be mandatory in urban centers, with local authorities in charge of enforcing the measure, and in bars and restaurants only seated customers may consume food and beverages.

New rules for isolation periods for people who test positive for Covid-19 and contact cases will be announced at the end of the week. Castex said these were necessary due to “Omicron’s unique characteristics” compared to other variants.

However, there will be no changes to the school calendar. Students will return to school as previously planned on January 3rd.

The prime minister appealed to people to receive booster shots, while praising the vaccination rate of 78 percent overall, a figure that the government says represents 90 percent of those eligible, currently all those over five years of age.

“I know it feels like an endless movie, but a year ago we started our vaccination campaign and now we are one of the best vaccinated and best protected people in the world,” said Castex.

The new measures come as authorities warned that hospitals in France are again at risk of being overwhelmed after a record 100,000 cases were reported on Saturday, the highest daily level in France since the pandemic began nearly two years ago. .

Monday’s figures show that more than 3,300 people are currently in intensive care, above the crisis threshold of 3,000 set by authorities.

( Jowhar with REUTERS and AFP)

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