PARIS: French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced that restaurants, cinemas and museums will stay closed during January, and that ski resorts will not reopen before the February holidays, as the vaccine roll-out in France cranks up.
A national overnight curfew was extended until at least Jan. 20, Castex added, adding that a further national tightening of controls at a period when hospitals were under extreme pressure could not be ruled out.
Covid-19 patients share one out of two intensive care beds and non-essential operations are also being delayed to relieve the pressure on hospitals.
Castex told a news conference, “It’s out of the question that we lower our guard.”
Castex said that restaurants will stay shuttered at the earliest until mid-February.
More than 66,500 lives have been taken by the coronavirus in France, the seventh highest death toll in the world. Health Minister Olivier Veran said the outbreaks of the latest British and South African strains of the virus were closely followed by France.
In France, nineteen instances of the British variant were found, the minister said, including two especially troubling clusters in the greater region of Paris and Brittany.
France will continue to prevent French nationals and returning citizens in possession of a negative COVID-19 result from entering France from Britain.