France May Impose Third National Lockdown, Health Minister Says

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Dec. 27 that a third national lockdown may be imposed as COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly in France.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Dec. 27 that a third national lockdown may be imposed as COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly in France.

“We will never rule out measures that may be necessary to protect the population. That does not mean that we’ve made up our minds, but that we are continuing to monitor the situation by the hour,” Veran said in an interview with French weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

“The pressure on the health system remains high, with 1,500 hospitalizations per day,” Veran said, adding that the government is “ready to take the necessary measures if the situation gets worse.”

Faced with a possible post-Christmas surge of COVID-19, France recorded 40,000 new cases between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and has recorded a daily number of 15,000 new cases, according to Veran.

Veran also noted that cases among the elderly in the rural areas have significantly increased.

Last Dec. 25, the health ministry said in a statement that France recorded the first case of the new variant of COVID-19 that was first detected in the United Kingdom when a Frenchman tested positive after arriving from London last Dec. 19.

According to Veran, the implementation of local lockdowns is also possible, which could begin in the worst-hit areas, including the Bourgogne-Franche-Comte regions and the Alpes-Maritimes department.

Veran also advised people not to meet on New Year’s Eve to celebrate and that the 8 p.m. curfew will remain.

“We cannot, for one evening, take the risk of locking the country down again for weeks,” Veran told the journal.

Veran’s comments came the same day France began its vaccination program, a week after the European Medicines Agency approved the use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech.


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