The Covid-19 situation in 20 French departments is being closely monitored with a view to introducing stricter measures, such as a weekend lockdown, as is being brought in in the Alpes-Maritimes and Dunkirk, Prime Minister Jean Castex has said.
A decision is to be taken in a week.
He was speaking during a press conference this evening (February 25) and was joined by Health Minister Olivier Véran.
He also said that Covid-19 vaccinations will be opened up to people aged 65 to 74 at the beginning of April, when two-thirds of people aged over 75 should have been vaccinated.
"The health situation in our country has deteriorated in recent days. Yesterday we counted more than 30,000 positive cases, a figure we hadn't reached since last November,” Mr Castex said.
“After several months marked by a plateau of between 15,000 and 20,000 cases per day, the virus has been gaining ground again for a week.
“We are vaccinating a lot, and most importantly, I want to emphasise to you, we are vaccinating the right people.
“If some countries around us have so far vaccinated more than us, France is in the lead for the vaccination of people most exposed to severe forms of Covid-19."
Key points from the prime minister’s speech:
- 20 French departments are to be monitored with a view to introducing stricter Covid-related measures, such as a weekend lockdown as introduced in the Alpes-Maritimes and Dunkirk and its surrounding area
- The departments are: Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Drôme, Eure-et-Loir, Meurth-et-Moselle, Moselle, Nord, Oise, Pas-de-Calais, Rhône, Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Somme, Var, Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise
- A decision will be made next week and, if the situation continues to deteriorate, reinforced measures to take effect from the weekend of March 6.
- Local weekend lockdowns in Dunkirk and the Alpes-Maritimes coast are “an intermediate measure”.
“It is a measure targeted on certain territories, where the epidemic is getting out of control, which seems to me the right method to be able to act quickly and strongly, where necessary, without impacting territories where the epidemic is receding or circulating less strongly".
- Covid-19 vaccinations for those over 65 years of age will open from the beginning of April.
- Nearly 80% of care home residents have been vaccinated. More than a quarter of people over 75 years of age have been vaccinated.
- Covid-19 variants are spreading quickly. This applies especially to the UK variant which now makes up half of the positive reported cases.
- Mr Castex said that lockdown is a lever that must only be used when there are no other choices. However he said that at the first signs of an epidemic outbreak the government will react.