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No new Covid rules expected in France before March 8

The government is set to hold a defence council meeting today but no new restrictions are expected before the end of the February school holidays

17 February 2021
President Macron during a defence council meeting. No new Covid rules this week as France in ‘in-between stage’President Macron is to hold a defence council meeting today but no new Covid restrictions are expected to be announced this week
By Hannah Thompson

No new Covid rules are expected in France this week, as the health situation remains severe-but-stable - as the government meets today and the PM says the country is at an “in-between stage”.

President Emmanuel Macron is to host a defence council meeting today at the Elysée.

The agenda is expected to include a discussion on possible future health restrictions that could be required if the situation worsens, but no new announcements are expected before the end of the February school holidays.

Zone B (Aix-en-Provence/Marseille, Amiens, Caen, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Reims, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg) is the third and final zone to be on holiday for the “February” break, with classes set to resume on March 8.

One government source summarised the approach to news service FranceInfo: “Let’s allow the public to breathe a bit.”

This is a contrast to previous updates, which have tended to change or be reviewed every 15 days.

It has also been confirmed that Prime Minister Jean Castex will not take part in the weekly health press conference tomorrow. His office said that the country is in an “in-between stage” when it comes to deciding the next steps, as the health situation evolves.

 

Overall decline - for now

The situation in France is considered to be severe-but-stable, with hospitals still under intense pressure, but the number of daily confirmed cases on a slow decline.

The most recent figures released on February 16 showed 19,590 new cases, and 352 deaths, in the past 24 hours. This is an increase on yesterday, but the overall trend has been on the decrease since the end of January.

Yet scientists have said that this could be the “calm before the storm” as the new variants from the UK, Brazil and South Africa continue to spread, especially in the north and east.

The variants have been dubbed “worrying” by both Health Minister Olivier Véran and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Read more: Covid France: North on alert as variants spread

Worldwide, Covid-19 currently appears to be on a slow retreat. The most recent World Health Organisation figures showed 16% fewer new cases confirmed globally last week compared to the week before - an equivalent of 2.7 million.

Similarly, the number of confirmed deaths dropped by 10% compared to the week before, at 81,000 worldwide.

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