On a visit to Nice on Saturday, French Minister of Health Olivier Véran said that stronger restrictions are needed to fight the rapid spread of coronavirus in the department that neighbours Monaco.

The department infection rate of 750 per 100,000 inhabitants is three times higher than in the rest of France and in Monaco.

One possibility being discussed by French ministers and local government leaders is a weekend lockdown. Other possibilities include a total lockdown or a longer curfew. An announcement of the new measures is expected over the weekend.

Nationwide, France reported 24,116 new infections on Friday, up by nearly 4,000 from the previous Friday. The seven-day average of new infections also rose. In addition, France reported 571 new deaths on Friday, above the seven-day average.

In addition, more vaccine doses – in short supply in France – will be sent urgently to Nice, including 3,500 Pfizer doses due to arrive on Monday, plus thousands of AstraZeneca doses.

FILE PHOTO: Olivier Véran Reuters