Pierre Dartout, Minister of State, told journalists on Friday afternoon that the coronavirus situation in Monaco is much more favourable than at the beginning of the summer. The benchmark infection rate is under 40 per 100,000 population, and on Thursday, September 23, had fallen to 31.29.

However, he urged great caution. “The war is not finished. We are far away from having collective immunity. We are continuing to adapt, to be pragmatic and we are in constant discussions with sport and cultural organisations,” he said at a press conference.

Mask-wearing must continue for the moment, and one of the factors in making this necessary is the fact that employees are coming on a daily basis from the Alpes-Maritimes where the infection rate remains higher.

“We must stay very prudent. We thank everyone for respecting the rules.” Collective responsibility is needed to enable us to have a normal life, Mr Dartout said, before stating that residents and employees can continue to use the terraces of restaurants without showing a Health Pass, as is the case at present, until the end of November.

If the hospital figures are good, it is because of the success of the vaccination program. None of the patients currently in hospital are vaccinated, Mr Dartout said.

However, among young people the number of vaccinations is “unsatisfactory.”

Didier Gamerdinger, Minister of Health and Social Affairs, added that vaccination is providing individual, familial and societal protection.

Some rules relaxed

The limit of diners at any one table has been lifted from 10 to 12. Importantly, there will be a prolongation of the current exemption from having a Health Pass for under 18s.

There will no longer be a need to make an appointment to visit the hairdresser, and the attendance limit at events has been increased from 70 to 100 percent of capacity.

For his part, Patrice Cellario, Minister of the Interior, said that sporting clubs will be able to allow participants to take part without masks, provided that individuals over the age of 12 and two months can produce a Health Pass.

PHOTO: A graph shows declining infection rates in Monaco, France, and the Alpes-Maritimes The top line represents the Alpes-Maritimes, the bottom one Monaco