The head of the scientific council advising the French government on the Covid-19 pandemic said Sunday that France would “probably need a new lockdown” and that there is an “emergency” in the country.
“Whether that needs to be a very strict lockdown like the first one in March or a softer form like in November, that is a political decision,” Jean-Francois Delfraissy told CNN affiliate BFM TV.
France enacted two lockdowns in 2020. The first started in March and lasted until May while the second “lockdown light” began late October and ended in December.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran said a third lockdown would be inevitable if the restrictive measures currently in place did nothing to curb the infections driven by the coronavirus variant first identified in the UK.
“If the numbers don’t go down, if the variants start to spread everywhere, then we will take additional measures, of course. It's called lockdown,” Veran told newspaper Le Parisien Sunday.
The average number of new infections in France has been gradually increasing from 18,000 per day to more than 20,000, according to figures from the country's Health Ministry.
France passed the threshold of 3 million Covid-19 cases on Friday and so far more than 1 million people have been vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry.
Measures to fight the pandemic: On Sunday, new border controls went into effect for people entering France from other European Union countries by air or sea. Travelers must be able to show a negative PCR test carried out fewer than 72 hours before departure.
Nine days ago, the start of a nationwide curfew was brought forward by two hours to 6 p.m.
French President Emmanuel Macron will chair a Defense Council meeting Wednesday to decide on new restrictions.