There is no need to close schools in France but new restrictive measures must be adhered to mitigate the COVID-19 infection rate and in particular, the spread of the British variant, the government's top scientific adviser said on Wednesday.
Speaking on franceinfo radio, Jean-François Delfraissy said “We think English data on the variant are not definitive enough to lead us to recommend the closing of schools in France”, "The faster we take decisions, the more efficient they will be,".
President Emmanuel Macron is discussing a possible further tightening of measures with senior ministers. A nationwide curfew could be brought forward to 6 p.m. from 8 p.m., as has already happened in some parts of the east and southeast, French media reported.
A third national lockdown seems off the table for now, even though the number of daily new infections, averaging more than 18,000, is almost four times higher than the government's target of less than 5,000 when it ended the second lockdown on Dec 15. Even though Delfraissy said the government should not close schools to curb the spread of the disease, he did recommend they should be monitored more closely, adding that a school should be closed as soon as one case of the British variant was detected.
Delfraissy confirmed the British variant accounted for an estimated 1 pc of the latest new COVID-19 infections in France, saying that amounted to about a 1,000 cases in the country. He described the three coming months as a "race" between the British variant of the virus and the ability to vaccinate the most vulnerable people.