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Coronavirus

Coronavirus: France says third lockdown likely if COVID-19 cases continue to rise

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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.

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

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“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.

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.

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

Read more:

Coronavirus: France receives its first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shipment

Coronavirus: France reports decrease in new COVID-19 cases before vaccine roll out