Government spokesman Gabriel Attal told the CNews TV channel on Sunday that France may escape a renewed lockdown this winter.

“”We have our destiny in our hands. With vaccination, with the health pass and barrier gestures, we can get through the winter while keeping a collective life and without having to take more difficult measures,” he said. “That’s the whole point of the vaccination booster campaign. We hope to reach 10 million before the end of the (coming) week.”

Speaking in Riga, Latvia, on Sunday, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said that there “is a race against the clock” to decipher the characteristics of the Omicron variant and update vaccines.

The variant has caused widespread alarm in Europe because of its possible ability to by-pass existing vaccines.

Meanwhile, the president of the South African medical association, Dr Angelique Coetzee, said that Omicron patients she has examined so far have not been suffering severe symptoms. Extreme fatigue was the most common symptom, and most patients have been men under the age of 40. A dry cough and a sore throat are the most common signs of infection, with some suffering a slight fever.

The UK is imposing an obligation for everyone to wear masks in shops and on public transport, from Tuesday, November 30. The move may help bring down stubbornly-high infection rates noted before Omicron made its debut.

© NEWS sarl. Words and images on this site and in our daily newsletter Good Morning Monaco are protected by the Universal Copyright Convention unless otherwise indicated and must not be re-used, rewritten or re-published in whole or in part without the written consent of NEWS sarl, a Monaco company.