France Could Ease COVID-19 Restrictions Next Month 

A French government spokesman said Wednesday officials are hoping to lift some of the nation’s COVID-19-related restrictions by the middle of next month, as vaccinations have, so far, proven effective at lowering infection rates. At a Paris news conference, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters that while the nation is still facing hard times, “For the first time in months, the return to more normal living conditions is in sight.”  Attal said infection rates are decreasing among groups that have been vaccinated — meaning the elderly. Attal said it is a sign the vaccination campaign is working, and that it should be sped up.  He said the goal of vaccinating the most fragile was to reduce hospitalizations and protect the health care system, which is key to easing restrictions. The spokesman said President Emmanuel Macron has asked government officials to submit proposals gearing up toward a “cautious reopening” of the country. FILE – A Nice resident and her dog go for a bike ride during virus-related confinement in Nice, southern France, Feb. 27, 2021.Earlier this week, Health Minister Olivier Veran said France will retain its current measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, including a nighttime curfew, as a bare minimum for the next four to six weeks. Other measures now in force include the closure of bars, restaurants, museums, sports and music venues. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus. At more than 3.8 million infections, France has world’s sixth highest number of cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the global outbreak. Reports say the number of new daily infections in France has been at more than 21,000 for six straight days. 

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