French government set to announce new restrictions as Covid cases rise

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal.
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP
The French government spokesman has announced that consultations are ongoing on tightening restrictions as Covid cases rise, with a press conference scheduled.

Speaking after a meeting of the Defence Council, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said consultations are currently ongoing on the new measures with local representatives and other sectors.

He announced that health minister Olivier Véran will hold a press conference on Thursday to detail the new measures.

He did not give details on what the new measures would involve, but said it would include “reinforcement of barrier gestures and mask-wearing” and increased checks on the use of the health pass.

The government is also expected to announce an acceleration of the booster shot programme for the Covid vaccine.

“We need a collective mobilisation … to save the holiday season” said Attal.

Cases are rising rapidly in France with a daily average of 18,000 new cases, an 84 percent increase on the previous week. Rates of hospitalisations and deaths, while still low, have also seen a 35 and 54 percent rise respectively over the past week.

READ ALSO What is behind the explosion of Covid cases in France?

Attal added that the national incidence rate is expected to reach 200 cases per 100,000 people “by tomorrow or the day after”.

This will likely trigger extra restrictions in ski resorts, where the Prime Minister Jean Castex had previously said that the health pass would only be required for ski lifts if the national incidence rate tops 200.

Other than that, there is no automatic change of rules with the 200 incidence rate, but it is clearly concerning the government.

Other measures previously discussed have included bring back mask rules for all indoor public spaces – including those like bars, cafés and cinemas where the health pass is in use – and expanding vaccine boosters to the over 40s.

READ ALSO What can we expect as the French government battles fifth Covid wave


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