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19 Jul, 2021 11:03

France doesn’t rule out localized curfews to tackle Covid-19 outbreaks, secretary of state says

France doesn’t rule out localized curfews to tackle Covid-19 outbreaks, secretary of state says

France’s secretary of state has revealed that localized curfews could return, as coronavirus cases are rising above a proposed incidence threshold in many regions.

Clement Beaune said the re-imposition of regional curfews could be used to combat Covid-19 outbreaks in certain areas across France, claiming that the move is “a possibility” that has “not been ruled out” in an interview with BFMTV on Monday.

The secretary of state detailed that the measures will be applied in regions where it is deemed necessary and will be adjusted “according to the gravity of the situation.” Beaune argued that it is “necessary until vaccination progresses.”

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Across France’s 96 departments, over a third (38.5%) have exceeded the alert rate of 50 cases for every 100,000 people, mainly in the south of the country. French President Emmanuel Macron set the incidence rate – the number of positive Covid-19 cases required for regions to impose local anti-virus restrictions – at 200 infections per 100,000 people if hospitalizations are also increasing.

In line with the new proposed incidence rate, the Pyrenees-Orientales, which borders Spain’s Catalonia region, has recorded over 300 cases and has reimposed mandatory masks outside, with cafes and restaurants forced to shut their doors at 11pm under curfew measures.

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Macron’s announcement last Monday about mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for care workers and the rollout of “health passes” sparked discontent amongst many, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets over the weekend throughout the country. Under the new law, healthcare workers will be required to be vaccinated by September 15 or face sanctions regarding pay or risk losing their job. The introduction of health passes will mean that members of the public will be required to show proof of full vaccination status, or a negative coronavirus test result taken within a 48-hour window, to visit the cinema or cultural events from July 21. The health pass will be extended to include long-distance travel, dining in establishments or visiting shopping centers from August.

Positive coronavirus infections are creeping up again in France, with cases over the last three days soaring past 10,000 daily. So far, France has fully vaccinated just over 43.68% of its population, with almost 55% having received one dose. However, over a quarter of the population still needs to be fully vaccinated before the country reaches its target of 80% immunity coverage against coronavirus.

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