France ‘still far’ from Covid-19 infection target, threatens relaxing measures by Xmas

rfi– The rate of coronavirus infections remains worrying, the French government said on Monday, calling into question a target of 5,000 infections per day. The target had been a key part of lifting restrictions on 15 December ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

“The daily infection rate isn’t dropping any more and remains particularly high amongst older people aged 65 or over,” Jérôme Salomon, the government’s director general of health, told a briefing on Monday.

“We’re still far from the objective of getting under 5,000 cases per day”, Salomon added.

France’s government set a date of 15 December for further relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions if the rate of infection was within certain limits. This would allow for travel between different regions during the festive period.

Salomon described how the impact on hospitals remained “major”, with heightened pressure on intensive care facilities.

The health ministry’s top official described how the government was particularly worried about the Christmas and New Year period given conditions that are favourable to the virus, notably, gatherings in closed spaces.

Salomon said people in France have made a “big effort” both on an individual and collective basis, and the lockdown measures have had a significant impact on the spread of Covid-19.

But he would not be drawn on whether the previously outlined loosening of restrictions would remain the same or if lockdown measures would remain in place for the holidays.

“If the current conditions continue, it will effectively be very difficult to obtain this objective,” said Salomon, referring to the 5,000 daily cases target.

11,022 daily cases were registered on Sunday, with the number hovering around 11,000 to 12,000 for the past four days.

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