“There is no question of lowering your guard”: worried about a “more fragile” health situation, threatened by the more contagious British variant, Jean Castex has maintained all the health restrictions in force. The Prime Minister also intends to extend the curfew at 6 p.m. to ten new departments, while promising to speed up vaccination.

All establishments and equipment currently closed due to the coronavirus epidemic “will remain so until the end of this month”, the Prime Minister announced on January 7.

Read also: Covid: Olivier Véran announces an acceleration of the vaccination campaign

Performance halls and sports equipment closed

“Museums, cinemas, theaters, theaters, sports or leisure facilities will not experience any relaxation in the coming weeks”, he added, thus showering the hopes of these sectors which hoped to reopen soon.

As for the bars and restaurants, they will not reopen before “at least mid-February”. A point will be made with mountain professionals on January 20 to study a possible reopening of the ski lifts in early February.

Worrisome indicators

The number of hospitalized patients fell slightly on Thursday in France, to 24,448 (-260 in 24 hours), and the number of patients in intensive care was almost stable, at 2,573 (-34).

The number of people who tested positive for the virus was 21,703 over the past 24 hours, less than the day before (over 25,000), but more than the previous Thursday (around 20,000).

Read also: MAP – Covid: the epidemic is worsening

Soon a third confinement?

The Prime Minister did not rule out “additional national measures” if “this would prove to be necessary depending on the development of the next few days”, leaving the threat of a third re-containment hovering. He also recalled that the United Kingdom had to decide on a reconfinement until March.

And Jean-François Delfraissy, the President of the Scientific Council warned: “In the middle of next week” when the contamination figures will be known during the holiday season, “it will perhaps be the time to discuss measures heavier “.

From January 8, a decision will be taken on the extension to ten new departments of the curfew from 6:00 p.m., already in force in fifteen departments for a week.

Clusters of the new variant in France

The government fears the spread in France of the British variant of the virus, “40% to 70% more contagious” according to the Minister of Health Olivier Véran. Two “risk clusters” have already been detected, in Brittany and Ile-de-France, with a total of 19 cases. To fight against its spread, the French borders with the United Kingdom will be closed “until further notice”.

Three other clusters were detected with a variant from South Africa and still poorly understood.

Read also: Covid: a “ten cases” of the British variant in France

One million vaccinated by the end of January

Jean Castex and Olivier Véran announced a whole panoply of measures to accelerate vaccination, criticized for its slowness at the start. After the 20,000 people vaccinated in ten days, another 27,000 to 28,000 were to be vaccinated on January 7, Olivier Véran said on BFM-TV on Thursday evening. But they number in the hundreds of thousands in Germany and the United Kingdom.

A ramp-up will reach one million at the end of January, repeated Olivier Véran during the press conference, explaining that France had ordered 78 million doses by before the summer, for the five most advanced vaccines. From 12 to 14 million French people could be vaccinated “in mid-April”, according to him.

Vaccination for over 75s

From January 18, vaccination will be open to everyone over 75, with a simplified procedure – a simple questionnaire. Vaccination centers in town will be open in the coming weeks, first 100, then 300 then 500.

To organize vaccination as close as possible to the field, “one pilot per logistics operations department, which will involve as many health professionals as possible,” according to Jean Castex, will be appointed.

In order to speed up operations, the government has decided, like the United Kingdom, to postpone the injection of the 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine for up to 6 weeks. This choice will make it possible to vaccinate twice as many people now.

Read also: The transport of anti-covid vaccines, a major logistical challenge

Next phase of vaccination

The next phase will concern the vaccination of some 7 million over 65 years. This large-scale vaccination will be able to go much faster “directly in town”.

“Ten days will not make the difference. Get vaccinated, help your loved ones get vaccinated,” said Olivier Véran.