PARIS, Nov 5 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron is to speak to the nation about the resurgence of COVID-19 infections as well as other issues including economic reforms, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Friday.
The rate of infection has picked up strongly in the past month, with the number of new COVID-19 infections week on week increasing by double-digit percentages for several days in a row.
The seven-day average of daily new infections now stands at more than 6,200, from less than 4,200 in early October.
“The epidemic is picking up speed again in Europe, Europe has again become the epicentre of the epidemic,” Attal told reporters. read more
Attal said Macron would review the COVID-19 situation and would also talk about the economic recovery, his government’s reform programme and other issues.
He did not say when Macron would speak.
Macron’s last major televised speech was on July 12 – at the start of a fourth wave of the epidemic – when he announced that vaccination would be made mandatory for all health workers. read more
French epidemiologists have recently suggested widening the scope of the vaccine booster campaign to include new categories.
On Wednesday, the government said face masks would again be compulsory from next week for schoolchildren in 39 regional departments where infection rates are high. read more
Prime Minister Jean Castex said the epidemic was picking up again, with the national incidence rate – the number of new infections per week per 100,000 inhabitants – now around 61, well above the alert level of 50.
“This is not an explosion, but it requires the greatest vigilance. Now is not the time to let our guard down,” he said.
The average weekly incidence rate set a 2021 high of 438 in April and fell below 20 at the end of June following a series of confinement measures.
It rose again to 247 at the peak of the fourth wave in mid-August. After briefly falling below the alert level of 50 early October, the trend turned again on Oct. 21 and the incidence rate stood at 65 on Thursday.
Reporting by Geert De Clercq, Matthieu Protard ad Sudip Kar-Gupta
Editing by Alison Williams and Nick Macfie
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