France imposes new virus measures amid spike in infections

Dec 27, 2021, 1:38 PM | Updated: 1:51 pm

PARIS (AP) — The French government announced new COVID-19 measures on Monday in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, yet stopped short of imposing drastic restrictions before New Year’s Eve.

Starting from next week, big events will be limited to 2,000 people indoors and 5,000 people outdoors. People will be requested to sit down during concerts and customers won’t be allowed to stand up in bars, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said.

Eating and drinking will be banned in cinemas, theaters, sport facilities and public transportation, including on long-distance routes. Working from home will be mandatory at least three days per week for employees whose job makes it possible, he added.

The new rules will be in place for at least three weeks, he said.

The move comes after France recorded more than 100,000 virus infections in a single day for the first time in the pandemic. President Emmanuel Macron held a special virus videoconference with key government members from his holiday residence at Fort de Bregancon on the French Riviera.

The new measures remain less strict than those put into place last December, when a nightly curfew was imposed across the country.

Castex made basic recommendations for New Year’s Eve, including avoiding big parties and dinners, wearing a mask, ventilating the room and getting a COVID-19 test — all “common-sense actions,” he said.

He confirmed that schools will reopen as scheduled on Jan. 3 and said political rallies won’t be affected by the new rules for democratic reasons before April’s presidential election.

The French government appeared to be trying to strike a balance between measures needed to relieve hospitals and keep the economy running at the same time, as the fast-spreading omicron variant complicates the situation.

“We are in a race against the clock,” Castex said.

More than one in 100 people in the Paris region have tested positive in the past week, according to the regional health service. Most new infections are linked to the omicron variant, which government experts predict will be dominant in France in the coming days.

Macron is also wary of the impact on public opinion of potential harsh measures less than four months before the presidential election, in which he is expected to run.

Castex stressed that hospitals’ intensive care units aren’t saturated because of over 90% of France’s adults being fully vaccinated — in sharp contrast with the situation last year.

The government hopes to speed up the nation’s booster campaign by reducing the delay in getting the shot from four to three months after the previous vaccine shot.

The government on Monday also presented a bill aiming at creating a “vaccine pass,” which will allow only vaccinated people to enter public places, including restaurants, bars and cinemas. The measure will be debated at Parliament next month.

___

Follow all AP stories on the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A technician monitors the self-driving taxi developed by tech giant Baidu Inc. on June 14, 2022, in...
Associated Press

China’s Baidu races Waymo, GM to develop self-driving cars

BEIJING (AP) — With no one at the wheel, a self-driving taxi developed by tech giant Baidu Inc. is rolling down a Beijing street when its sensors spot the corner of a delivery cart jutting into its lane. The taxi stops a half-car-length away. “So sorry,” a recorded voice tells passengers. The steering wheel turns […]
19 hours ago
Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the ...
Associated Press

1/6 Takeaways: Angry Trump, dire legal warnings and ketchup

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Jan. 6 committee held a surprise hearing Tuesday delivering alarming new testimony about Donald Trump’s angry, defiant and vulgar actions as he ignored repeated warnings against summoning the mob to the Capitol and then refused to intervene to stop the deadly violence as rioters laid siege. Witness Cassidy Hutchinson, a […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Ratings show Fox News viewers tuning out Jan. 6 hearings

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel is airing the Jan. 6 committee hearings when they occur in daytime hours and a striking number of the network’s viewers have made clear they’d rather be doing something else. During two daytime hearings last week, Fox averaged 727,000 viewers, the Nielsen company said. That compares to the […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

California budget won’t cover out-of-state abortion travel

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — While Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged to make California a sanctuary for women seeking abortions, his administration won’t spend public money to help people from other states travel to California for the procedure. Newsom’s decision, included in a budget agreement reached over the weekend, surprised abortion advocates who have been working […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, from the Philippines, attends a news conference in O...
Associated Press

Maria Ressa: Philippines affirms news site shutdown order

HONOLULU (AP) — Filipino journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa announced in a speech in Hawaii Tuesday that the Philippine government is affirming a previous order to shut down Rappler, the news website she co-founded, which has gained notoriety for its reporting of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs. The Philippines’ […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference June 7, 2022, in Ne...
Associated Press

NYC mayor: Investigate Giuliani for ‘false’ slap claim

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams suggested Tuesday that former Mayor Rudy Giuliani be investigated for filing a false police report for claiming he was assaulted by a heckler who clapped him on the back Sunday at a Staten Island grocery store. “Someone needs to remind former Mayor Giuliani that falsely […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Canvas Annuity

The secret to guaranteed retirement income

Annuities aren’t really a secret, but they are so misunderstood that they might as well be. Once you understand what an annuity is and how it can benefit you, you could decide this “secret” is the perfect supplement to your retirement plan.
France imposes new virus measures amid spike in infections