In a televised press conference on the evening of Thursday, January 20, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the lifting of a number of pandemic restrictions.

From Wednesday, February 2, the wearing of masks will no longer be compulsory outdoors. Upper limits of numbers at cultural and sports events will also be lifted as will compulsory working from home.

Two weeks later, on February 16, it will be legal once again to eat or drink standing up in bars, food and drink can be served on trains, and discotheques can reopen.

Speaking after the prime minister, Health Minister Olivier Véran said that the vaccination pass will be suspended if pressure from the pandemic “decreases for a long time.”

Prime Minister Castex emphasised that vaccination is critical to the improvement in the health situation. He said that those who had been double-jabbed were four and a half times less likely to catch the virus and 25 times less likely to end up in intensive care. Ninety-one percent of the French population has been double-jabbed, and 62 percent have had a booster shot.

Cautioning that the now dominant Omicron variant is more dangerous than ‘flu, the infection rate in Paris and its neighbourhood has been falling in recent days, just as cases had fallen in London.

The vaccination pass, which requires a booster shot to be valid, will come into effect on Monday, January 24.

FILE PHOTO: PM Jean Castex Reuters