France mulling third lockdown amid spike in Covid cases

France mulling third lockdown amid spike in Covid-19 cases

France has been registering around 15,000 new infections per day

French Health Minister Olivier Veran. Credit: Reuters File Photo

France has not ruled out imposing a third nationwide lockdown if coronavirus cases continue to rise, its health minister said Sunday, as the country braces for a possible post-Christmas spike.

"We will never exclude measures that are necessary to protect the public," Olivier Veran told the Journal du Dimanche.

"That is not to say we have made a decision, but that we are watching the situation hour by hour."

France has been registering around 15,000 new infections per day, and on Friday confirmed the first case of a new coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain.

Read | France sees first case of UK coronavirus variant

The new strain, which experts fear is more contagious, prompted more than 50 countries to impose travel restrictions on the UK.

Following a snap 48-hour ban on UK arrivals this week, France has reopened its borders -- partly to allow French citizens to return home but also to relieve the massive build-up of freight goods.

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On Saturday it took delivery of the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine it will use in its mass inoculation campaign.