The president of France has called on the French people to reduce their social interaction and be “extremely careful” in the face of a looming third wave of Covid-19, but admitted stricter rules would be necessary.
“The government will undoubtedly have to make other rules … We must continue to follow the evolution of the epidemic,” President Emmanuel Macron told reporters on Tuesday, adding that a regional approach would be adopted, rather than another national lockdown being imposed.
As a third wave of Covid-19 surges across France, Macron called on his country’s “collective conscience,” and asked people “to be extremely careful” and to acknowledge that the virus in “very present on French soil.”
“We must all be responsible and mobilize … What is very important is to follow these rules which have been clarified in recent days,” he noted, adding that there needs to be a further move to working from home and reducing social interaction.
Sixteen departments of France have been subject to new restrictive measures since Saturday, as virus case rates increase across the country. At 4,447, the number of people in intensive care is now approaching the figures reached at the peak of the second wave in mid-November.
In an effort to stem the spread of the virus, Macron promised that inoculation centers would be open “morning, noon and night.” “We are fighting to have doses … There will be a change from April … There are no weekends and bank holidays for vaccination,” he stated.
France is now facing an uphill battle to convince its citizens that the jabs on offer are safe. New data, published on Monday by the international market research and data analytics company YouGov, show that only 23% of French people consider the AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe, while 61% think it is unsafe. Faith in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is also lower than in other European countries.