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French hit with new set of Covid measures

The French government has unveiled a slate of Covid measures to combat a fifth wave of the virus, including requiring masks for indoor spaces and ordering all adults to get a booster shot for their health pass.

Health Minister Olivier Veran announced the moves on Thursday, outlining efforts to prevent a spike in hospitalizations and fatalities from the virus without plunging the nation back into a lockdown.

From Saturday, all adults in France will be eligible for a Covid booster shot, with it being required by January 15 to ensure their health pass remains valid. Over-65s have already been told to get their third Covid vaccine by December 15. As it stands, health passes are required across the country to access indoor venues, such as restaurants and bars. 

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Veran added that the government will no longer accept a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival as an alternative to the Covid pass. Instead, the negative Covid test will need to have been taken within 24 hours of entry. 

From this week, masks will, once again, be mandatory in all indoor places and, for the festive season, at outdoor Christmas markets. 

Despite the new measures, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer ruled out closing schools if they experience a Covid outbreak, stating that instead students would just be required to get tested.

France has seen Covid cases increase in recent weeks, with 32,591 new infections recorded on Wednesday. Despite 76.9% of France’s population being fully vaccinated against Covid, the country’s incidence rate has reached nearly 200 new infections per 100,000 persons.

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