France further strengthens COVID measures, but no New Year’s Eve curfew

People wearing protective masks are pictured on a rainy winter day in Rue Montorgueil, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19), in Paris, France, December 27, 2021. REUTERS / Christian hartmann

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PARIS, December 27 (Reuters) – French Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that in response to a rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the government is reducing the time frame for a third recall to three months instead of four , but there will be no New Years Eve curfew.

Castex also indicated that 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.

Food and drink consumption will be banned on long-distance transport as well as in cinemas and working from home will become compulsory for at least three days a week whenever possible, Castex said.

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The government has also decided to make face masks compulsory outside in city centers, under the authority of representatives of local communities.

“I know it sounds like a never-ending movie, but a year ago we started our vaccination campaign and now we are one of the best immunized and best protected people in the world,” Castex said during a press conference following a cabinet meeting.

Castex said the government’s planned vaccine pass – which will require proof of vaccination, not just a negative test – will take effect from January 15, if parliament approves a government bill.

Castex also said that food and drink in bars and restaurants should be consumed while sitting, not standing.

Unlike other countries which have delayed the return of students to school, French schools will reopen as scheduled on January 3, Castex announced.

Castex said the incidence rate of Covid – the number of infections per 100,000 people per week – is now well above 700 and at a record high since the start of the epidemic.

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Reporting by Geert De Clercq Editing by Chris Reese and Philippa Fletcher

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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