France introduces 6pm curfew; to offer vaccines to all those at high risk

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Reuters – France reported a sharp rise in COVID-19 hospitalisations on Thursday as the government brought forward its night curfew two hours to 6 p.m. to try to slow the coronavirus.

The French government will impose a nationwide 6pm curfew for at least 15 days starting on Saturday to stem the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday. Health authorities will also begin offering a Covid-19 vaccine to those at high risk from Monday regardless of age, France 24 reports.

Most of France has been under an 8pm curfew, with some parts of the country, especially in the hard-hit east, already under the stricter 6pm curfew to stem the tide of coronavirus infections.

Castex said a much-feared infection surge following the year-end holidays had not happened, but said a new lockdown could be imposed “without delay” if the health situation were to deteriorate badly.

The situation in France is “under control”, he said, but remains “fragile”.

There were 21,228 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, fewer than the 23,852 on Wednesday, while Health Ministry data showed that 282 people had died from the virus in hospitals, up from 229 on Wednesday.

The total death toll stood at 69,313 and the cumulative number of cases stood at 2,851,670.

The number of people in intensive care rose by 15 to 2,726 while the total number of patients hospitalised for the disease was up 248 over 24 hours at 25,017.

The ministry also said that to date, 318,000 people had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Editing by Franklin Paul and Nick Macfie)

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