France warns that a third national lockdown is possible if Covid cases continue to rise – while the nation launches its vaccination campaign for fear of spikes after Christmas
- Health Minister Olivier Veran said he would never rule out measures to protect the public
- His comments came on Sunday as France launched its vaccination campaign
- France has only reported 3,093 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours
- Despite the sharp decline in daily case numbers in the 20,000s earlier this week, the seven-day average remains high
France has said a third lockdown in the country is possible if coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Health Minister Olivier Veran spoke out on Sunday as France launched its vaccination campaign for fear of a possible surge after Christmas.
"We will never rule out measures that are necessary to protect the public," he told the Journal du Dimanche.
"That does not mean that we have made a decision, but that we are watching the situation hour by hour."
France has registered around 15,000 new infections every day and on Friday confirmed the first case of a new coronavirus variant that recently emerged in the UK in a man who had traveled from London.
Sweden and Spain have also confirmed cases of the new variant, which experts believe are more contagious. It caused more than 50 countries to impose travel restrictions on the UK.
The French health minister said a third lockdown in the country is possible if coronavirus cases continue to rise
On Sunday, France began delivering the first doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine to vulnerable residents in the greater Paris area and the Burgundy-Franche-Comte region. Pictured: Mauricette, 78, received a dose of the vaccine on Sunday
Staff at Rene Muret Hospital in Sevran, on the outskirts of Paris, applaud after Mauricette, a 78-year-old French woman, received the vaccine
After a quick 48-hour ban on arrivals in the UK this week, France has reopened its borders – partly to allow French citizens to return home, but also to facilitate the massive build-up of cargo.
On Sunday, France began delivering the first doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine to vulnerable residents in the greater Paris area and the Burgundy-Franche-Comte region.
France received the drug a day earlier after it was approved for use on Thursday.
'We have a total of 19,500 doses, which equates to 3,900 vials. These cans are kept in our freezer at minus 80 degrees (Celsius) and then distributed to various nursing homes and hospitals, ”said Franck Huet, Head of Pharmaceutical Products for the Paris Public Hospital System.
The French government hopes to vaccinate around 1 million people in nursing homes in January and February, and another 14 to 15 million in the general population between March and June.
France reported just 3,093 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours on Saturday, a significant decrease from the more than 20,000 cases in the previous two days that have not been recorded since November 20
Another 146 people died of the corona virus in France on Sunday. The death toll in the country stands at 62,573 – the seventh highest in the world
France reported just 3,093 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours on Saturday, a significant decrease from the more than 20,000 cases in the previous two days that have not been recorded since November 20.
However, the moving average of seven days a day, which offsets the reporting of irregularities, is at a monthly high.
France has a total of 2,550,864 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the fifth highest number in the world, while the death toll of COVID-19 is 62,573, the seventh highest.
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