Paris will not be put under weekend lockdowns, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced at his weekly Covid-19 round-up on Thursday evening, reports the Guardian’s Paris Correspondent Kim Willsher.
The news came as a relief to Parisians who feared they were heading for yet another restriction after the city and surrounding areas became one of more than 20 French departments on high alert following a rise in coronavirus contaminations and deaths. City mayor Anne Hidalgo had vigorously argued against a weekend lockdown saying it was “inhumane” not to allow residents, many of them living in small flats, to spend some time outside.
Nice in the south of France, and Dunkirk in the north remain under weekend lockdown, which has been extended to the department around the Channel port.
The whole of France remains under a daily 6pm to 6am curfew.
Castex also announced a speeding up of France’s much criticised vaccine roll-out with pharmacies being allowed to vaccinate from 15 March. Vaccines will even be administered at weekends, he said, in the hope of getting 30m French people inoculated by the summer.
However, there is concern that only 40% of France’s health workers have been vaccinated, despite having been eligible for the jab for weeks. French media reported that president Emmanuel Macron had suggested it be made obligatory for health workers, but Castex and the French health minister Olivier Véran stopped short of this and urged those in the health sector to get vaccinated to protect “themselves, their families and the people they care for”.
Castex warned another lockdown was “not inevitable” but also not ruled out if the situation worsens.
During a council of ministers meeting on Thursday – the equivalent to a Cabinet meeting in the UK – Macron was reported to have had a dig at the sluggish pace of vaccinations in France that has seen millions of doses still unused, telling ministers: “You’re great, but as long as there are vaccines sitting in fridges, I’m not locking people down again”.
Some people with asthma have been ‘refused’ the Covid-19 vaccine
The main UK story from overnight this morning is that Cyprus will allow British tourists who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 into the country without…
Go to the news source: Coronavirus live news: WHO ‘to scrap’ interim Wuhan report; UK investigating new…