France has stepped up efforts to administer coronavirus boosters and enforced stricter requirements for the Covid-19 pass, but has moved away from imposing another lockdown even as cases soar.
Eligibility for a third injection will be extended to adults five months after receiving their second dose, Health Minister Olivier Véran said on Thursday, prompting an increase in bookings. Masks will be mandatory in all interior spaces from Friday, he added.
From January 15, fully vaccinated people will only be able to use the coronavirus pass if less than seven months have passed since their last jab.
Unvaccinated people relying on antigen or PCR tests negative for their Covid-19 pass to access restaurants, hairdressers and other places will only be able to use one, for a cost of up to € 44 each, taken within the last 24 hours.
France recorded more than 32,591 daily cases on Wednesday, the highest number since April 24, as Véran said this latest wave will undoubtedly be “stronger” and “longer” than the previous one.
Its R rate, or reproduction, is 1.6, with cases doubling every 11 days, said the director general of health Jérôme Salomon.
The government has been reluctant to impose curfews or lockdowns, with vaccination rates among the highest in Europe.
The country’s Covid-19 policies, which apply to its Caribbean territories, have encountered several nights of protests and unrest in Guadeloupe and Martinique this week. Protesters, angered by the need for all health workers to be vaccinated and frustrated with the poor standard of living, looted shops, erected barricades on fire and threw Molotov cocktails at police.