Jan, 25th 2021 – France’s top medical advisor said on Sunday that a third national lockdown would probably soon be needed to combat coronavirus in the country.
A strict curfew was implemented last weekend, but cases continue to climb. Prof Jean-Francois Delfraissy, head of the scientific council that advises leaders on Covid-19, said that there is an emergency and this week was critical. He called for swift government action, amid rising concerns about the spread of new variants of the coronavirus.
He said, “If we do not tighten regulations, we will find ourselves in an extremely difficult situation from mid-March.“
He said that data showed a new more transmissible variant first detected in the UK now makes up between 7-9% of cases in some French regions and will be hard to stop. He added that the country was in a better situation than others in Europe, but described the new variants as the equivalent of a second pandemic.
Officials have so far resisted implementing a third national lockdown, preferring an overnight curfew system which allows schools to stay open.
The death toll in the country has surpassed 73,000 as the country tightened restrictions on arrivals into the country. According to the new rules, passengers by air or ferry from inside the EU must provide a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours of travel. However, those entering France by road from the EU will not be required to take the test.
Last week, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission said that all non-essential travel should be advised against but the EU nations have so far agreed to keep borders open.