France cuts gap for booster dose, tightens restrictions ahead of New Year'stext_fields
Paris: France has opted not to impose a curfew on New Year's but has imposed restrictions on gatherings of people in public spaces as well as public transport in an effort to control a surge in positive cases of COVID-19 which have risen sharply as more people rushed to get tested during the holiday period.
The four month gap required to get a booster dose of the vaccine has been cut to three, following the second dose of their preferred vaccine.
Consumption of food and drink will be banned in public passenger transport - including long-distance transport - as well as in movie theatres, while in bars and restaurants all food and drink will have to be consumed seated, not standing. Masks are already required for passengers on public transport. In addition to this, gatherings have been limited to 2000 and 5000 people for indoor and outdoor events respectively.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that France was also looking to make vaccination passes mandatory for public events from January 15 via a draft bill which has to be approved by Parliament. Castex also said that home working will become mandatory for at least three days per week where possible, and that mask wearing will become mandatory again outdoors in city centres, under the authority of local prefectures.
France recorded over 100,000 infections in a single day following Christmas, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic. Hospitalisation has also gone up due to a surge in the Delta variant of Covid-19, although the French health ministry has predicted Omicron to be dominant in coming weeks. More than 1,000 people in France with the virus died over the past week, bringing the country's overall death toll to more than 122,000.