[Article updated on November 10 at 12:20 with further details about the booster dose for over-65s]
President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation in a televised speech tonight from the Élysée Palace, covering a range of topics but starting with the fight against Covid-19 and the importance of vaccination.
Here are the key points he made on Covid:
- He said that a “fifth wave” of Covid has arrived in Europe. "We are not yet finished with the pandemic. Tens of thousands of our fellow citizens are affected by what is known as the long Covid."
- 75% (51 million people) in France have now been fully vaccinated making France one of the best protected countries in the world.
- A booster Covid vaccine dose will be obligatory for all over-65s for their pass sanitaire (health pass) to continue to be valid from December 15. After this date, over-65s who received their second dose more than six months and five weeks before will have to have had a booster to avoid their health pass being deactivated. However, if by December 15 six months have not passed since your second dose, you will still be able to use your pass as normal, as long as you go for your booster when required.
- A booster dose campaign will be launched for everyone aged 50 to 64 from the beginning of December. More details to be announced in the coming days.
- Checks and controls on the health pass to be increased.
- Call for everyone who has not yet been vaccinated to do so.
- Wearing masks at schools will continue.
- No current Covid-related rules will be relaxed, and will be maintained until further notice.
Further practical details about the third 'booster' dose and how it will tie in with the validity of the health pass for the over 65s have yet to be announced.
France is currently offering booster doses six months after the second dose to:
- People over 65
- Medical professionals
- People at risk of serious forms of Covid (including those with diabetes and obesity issues)
- People who are severely immunocompromised together with their close friends and family
- People who received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine are eligible to receive a booster vaccine dose in France (four weeks after the first dose)
The Covid situation in France is steadily worsening. The country has recorded on average 7,232 new Covid cases each day over the past week, up 23% from the previous week.
Pensions, nuclear power and unemployment benefits
In addition to Covid measures, Mr Macron used his televised interview - his ninth since the beginning of the pandemic - to cover a range of other topics in the lead up to the presidential elections in April next year.
The president also:
- Reminded the public of the rule change for unemployment benefits: From December 1, it will be necessary to have worked at least six months in the last two years to receive unemployment benefit [as opposed to four at present]
- Announced that France will, for the first time in decades, construct new nuclear power stations with the aim of guaranteeing France’s energy independence and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050
- Said that any decision on pension reforms, a hotly debated topic during his presidency as before, will be put back to next year
- Announced that state-backed loans, issued to businesses affected by the pandemic, will be extended until the end of June 2022. More than 690,000 such loans have been granted since the beginning of the health crisis in March 2020, totalling over €140billion.