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France to unveil timetable for easing COVID restrictions

  • >> Reuters
    Published: 2022-01-20 18:59:22 BdST

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A medical worker administers a nasal swab to a patient at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing centre in Saint-Hilaire-de-Loulay near Nantes, France, January 17, 2022. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

France will unveil a timetable for easing COVID-19 restrictions later on Thursday, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said, though he cautioned the wave of omicron infections tearing through the country had not reached its peak.

Attal said France's new vaccine pass rules would help allow a softening of rules even as the incidence rate of infections continues to increase.

France reported nearly half a million coronavirus infections on Wednesday to leave the seven-day average at 320,000 cases. However, the number of COVID patients in intensive care has stabilised, leaving the government some room for manoeuvre.

Attal declined to detail the plans for the progressive easing of restrictions, which include the closure of nightclubs, caps on the number of people allowed into sports and entertainment venues and working-from-home rules.

On Sunday, the government gave final approval to President Emmanuel Macron's plans for a vaccine pass, which will require people to have a certificate of vaccination to enter public venues like restaurants, cafes, cinemas and long-distance trains.

The pass is expected to come into effect soon after the Constitutional Court rules on the matter on Friday. The vaccine pass has re-energised anti-vaccine street protests.

Prime Minister Jean Castex and his health minister, Olivier Veran, will unveil the timetable for unwinding restrictions at 7 pm.