Paris needs more coronavirus restrictions, French PM says

16 French regions head back into lockdown from midnight tonight

Covid-19 infections are stubbornly high in France, which has not imposed any nationwide lockdown since past year, as pressure on hospitals in the Paris region forces the government to think about tightening its measures. The city of 2.1 million now has an incidence rate of over 400 infections per 100,000 residents.

"The epidemic is getting worse".

Castex said the country was entering its third wave and the British variant makes up about 75% of cases, Reuters reported. The 55-year-old has no underlying health conditions so did not qualify for vaccination under France's "most vulnerable first" system.

The lockdown will be imposed on the 16 hardest hit departments, the prime minister said, including Paris and its surroundings, as well as parts of the north.

"Essential goods shops, including bookstores, will remain open".

Prime Minister Jean Castex is to get vaccinated on Friday to show his confidence in the vaccine.

"I am confident public trust in the vaccine will be restored", he said, though he acknowledged it might take time.

"Greater Paris region concerned by this lockdown".

The Paris region is home to almost one fifth of the population and accounts for 30% of economic activity.

"Night curfew will now start at 7 pm instead of 6 pm". There is no reason for French people to turn down the vaccine, the government spokesman said on Friday.

"It was the right decision in January".

The lockdown will last for a month.

Not everyone agrees. In the intensive care unit of a private hospital on the edge of Paris, doctors expressed resignation at having once again to deal with overloaded wards.

It is "very effective against the most severe forms of Covid and very safe", the European Union health watchdog declared, while admitting it could not rule out altogether a link with a small number of blood disorders. "We are awaiting the opinion of the EMA and once we have it we will follow it", he said.



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