France Curbs New Year’s Eve Partying in a Bid to Shield Hospitals
(Bloomberg) -- French officials will curb outdoor revelry on New Year’s Eve in a bid to limit Covid-19 infections that risk overwhelming hospitals, Prime Minister Jean Castex said.
“I’m appealing to everyone’s responsibility to find other ways to celebrate than large gatherings, and avoiding moments of conviviality,” Castex said in a televised speech on Friday, as many people in France began their winter vacations. Regional prefects will ban spontaneous parties and ask cities to hold off on fireworks and other celebrations, he said.
“I understand the frustration to limit yourselves in such festive moments, but we owe that to our health-care personnel,” Castex said. France closed nightclubs this month, though not bars.
France will also increased pressure in January to get vaccinated. Only immunized people will be able to get a “health pass” that gives access to bars, restaurants, medical facilities and cultural venues, meaning a negative Covid test won’t suffice to obtain it. Police controls will be strengthened, Castex said.
“It’s not admissible that a minority of French people who refuse to get vaccinated puts at risk the life of a whole country, and the daily life of a large majority of French people who’ve played ball since the beginning of this pandemic,” Castex said.
Time elapsed for booster shots will be shortened to four months from five months, he said. People without vaccinations should bear the burden of restrictions “because intensive-care units are mostly full of non-vaccinated people,” Castex said.
France has recorded several hundred cases of omicron, which Castex said will become the dominant strain early next year. He said it doesn’t appear more dangerous than the delta variant and that data suggest existing vaccines are effective.
President Emmanuel Macron canceled a trip to Mali next week due to concern about the coronavirus, Agence France-Presse cited his office as saying. France reported 58,128 new cases in the latest 24-hour period.
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