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Covid situation particularly fragile due to more virus variants: French PM

"A new lockdown can only be considered as a very last resort. Currently, the situation does not justify such a move," Castex told reporters at the briefing

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Coronavirus | Coronavirus Vaccine | France

IANS  |  Paris 

An employee is being instructed on how to use a face mask at the Toyota car factory in Onnaing, northern France, Monday, April 27, 2020. Workers are returning to a Toyota factory as the country tries to carefully restart the economy. AP/PTI
One of the hardest hit countries in Europe, France has so far registered a total of 3,310,496 coronavirus cases and 77,743 deaths.

The Covid-19 pandemic situation in is "particularly fragile" due to the more infectious variants of the virus, but there was no need to impose a new nationwide lockdown at the moment, Prime Minister Jean Castex said.

With daily averages of 20,000 new infection cases, 1,600 hospital admissions and 320 deaths, "the situation remains worrying", Castex warned at a weekly press briefing on Wednesday.

However, he said "for the moment, there is no necessity to lock down", arguing that "the level of incidence is certainly high, but it is still much lower than it was last October" when the country entered a second confinement, reports Xinhua news agency.

"A new lockdown can only be considered as a very last resort. Currently, the situation does not justify such a move," Castex told reporters at the briefing.

"The objective is not to delay (the confinement) but to do everything possible to avoid it. We must hold on, act together," he said.

The Prime Minister also said that the percentage of infections by the new variants among new cases has increased from 3.3 per cent on January 8 to 14 per cent on Thursday.

has also confirmed four cases of the strain first detected in Brazil, Health Minister Olivier Veran said at the same press briefing.

"Our objective is clear: we want to limit the spread of these variants as much as possible," said Veran, noting that the country was "in a race against time" against more infectious variants.

By next week, all residents in nursing homes who want to be vaccinated will have received their first jab, while up to 4 million people would receive the first dose later this month, according to Castex.

Sticking to a three-to-four-week gap between the two injections, aims to vaccinate all the citizens aged over 65 by the end of May and all adults before September, he added.

One of the hardest hit countries in Europe, France has so far registered a total of 3,310,496 cases and 77,743 deaths.

--IANS

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(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Fri, February 05 2021. 09:56 IST
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