France Will Unveil New Local Measures to Curb Covid Thursday

France will announce stricter localized measures in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19 on Thursday, and they may include lockdowns.

“Additional measures will be taken in a certain number of territories,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting. They will target the economically-important Paris region as well as the north of the country, and could include lockdowns, he said.

President Emmanuel Macron has been reluctant to impose a third national lockdown that would crush the economy and could prove politically costly some 14 months before the presidential election. Instead his government has been relying on a national curfew that runs from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., with cafes, restaurants, bars and theaters closed, to try and contain a resurgence in the infection rate.

But amid a sluggish vaccine roll out officials warned that wasn’t enough, and they turned to localized restrictions in Covid-19 hotspots, shuttering the northern city of Dunkirk last month and the region of Alpes-Maritimes in the south, including Nice, on the weekends.

The new measures that Attal alluded to on Wednesday would enter into force this weekend. He said that the curbs on domestic travel are under discussion, but a decision has yet to be made.

Attal said that France would swiftly resume the AstraZeneca Plc vaccination campaign if the European Medicines Agency advises that it’s safe, which could happen on Thursday. “We hope, and have reasons to believe, that the EMA will continue to allow the use of AstraZeneca,” Attal said.

Prime Minister Jean Castex and health minister Olivier Veran will hold a press conference on Thursday at 6 p.m. when they’ll explain what France intends to do, Attal said.

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