The French government is to impose a month long lockdown amid fears of a third wave of the coronavirus linked to a new more highly contagious variant.
The lockdown which is expected to go into effect at midnight on Friday will affect Paris and parts of northern France.
Prime Minister, Jean Castex, described France as being in the grip of a third wave as the country on Thursday reported a record 35,000 new infections with more COVID-19 patients in intensive care in Paris.
According to Castex, the lockdown measures will not be as restrictive as ones prior with schools to remain open and people allowed to exercise outdoors within a 10km (6.2 miles) radius of their homes.
“Go outdoors, but not to party with friends,” Castex said.
Castex told a news conference that the epidemic was getting worse but that he believed that the four-week -long lockdown would be sufficient to get things back on track in the country, which recently suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
“Four weeks, the time required for the measures to generate a sufficient impact. [It is] the time we need to reach a threshold in the vaccination of the most vulnerable,” Castex added
Castex also revealed that France would resume inoculations with the AstraZeneca vaccine after the European Medicines Agency confirmed it was safe.
In an attempt to bolster support for the vaccine, Castex said he would get the shot on Friday.