At his weekly press conference, French prime minister Jean Castex announced that from Saturday 6 p.m., and for at least two weeks, the entire country will be under extended curfew, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
All businesses and services open to the public will have to also close at 6 p.m. The same applies for take away sales, however, home deliveries can continue until 8 p.m.
Any person outside the home after 6 p.m.–for work, education and training, doctors appointments and buying medication, important family matters, assisting vulnerable persons, picking up kids from school, judicial or administrative summons, travel related to train, air and bus transit, or to take out the dog–will need to carry an attestation or face a fine of €135.
The prime minister commended the French who he said showed great restraint over the holidays and although the country has an average of 16,000 cases a day, much lower than the rest of Europe, the virus is still actively circulating and the situation remains fragile.
In particular, the government is trying to control the spreading of the English strain, which is 30% to 70% more contagious and more contagious for children, although cases are not more serious. Currently there are 2 to 300 cases every day of the mutation. (There are less of the South African strain.)
As a result, from Monday, all travelers coming to France from outside the EU will have to present a negative test within 72 hours and “pledge on their honor” to immediately self-isolate for seven days and then repeat the test after isolation.
Minister of health, Olivier Véran, announced a protocol to test up to one million children and teachers per month, adding that screening could begin from the age of 6, when appropriate, as the new strain “seems more contagious” for kids.
Minister of education Jean-Michel Blanquer said that France has kept its schools open more than any other country over the last year and the government will continue to protect children with strict measures. Schools will continue to remain open but health measures will be enforced in school canteens (for example, number of children per table) and all school and after-school indoor sports have been cancelled.
Regarding vaccinations, Castex calls on those over 75 to “be patient” about getting an appointment. “The appointments will spread out, it’s a very big operation,” he said.
If cases start to rise over the coming days, and hospital and ICU admissions jump, Castex said he will not rule out another confinement.