Jean-François Delfraissy, the president of the Scientific Council, warned that normal life in France won’t return until late 2021, as the situation will look similar to this past year, with a tough six months ahead.
Speaking to France’s BFM TV channel on Friday, the senior government scientific adviser issued the bleak outlook despite an imminent beginning of a mass vaccination campaign in the country, as it will take time before the positive impact is felt.
Vaccines are a major source of hope but if you look at the vaccination capabilities that we will have in France and elsewhere in Europe, we will need time.
When asked by the interviewer whether French citizens would remain under Covid restrictions until autumn 2021, Delfraissy confirmed it, saying “more or less.”
The immunologist pointed to the large number of vulnerable people in France, estimated to be around 22 million people, suggesting it will take five months to vaccinate all members of that group, due to the limited availability of doses.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Wednesday that the nation is expected to administer the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine during the final week of December, as long as it is approved by the European Medicines Agency next week.
After a month and a half in complete lockdown, France began to ease restrictions on Tuesday, after President Emmanuel Macron announced the country had passed the peak of the second wave of Covid-19. Ahead of the Christmas break, the country will replace lockdown measures with a 9pm to 7am curfew. While bars, restaurants, gyms and sports centers are still closed, the government hopes to reopen those facilities on January 20.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, France has recorded over 2.42 million cases of coronavirus, the fifth highest total for any country in the world. On Thursday, the country also recorded its highest daily tally since November 20, with 18,524 new infections.
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