French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday that weekend lockdown measures would be extended to the Pas-de-Calais region from Saturday. Castex also placed three new regions, Hautes-Alpes, Aisne and Aube under reinforced surveillance over high rates of infection, bringing it to a total of 23 regions across the country.
Big non-essential and non-food retailers of more than 10,000 square meters will be closed in the 23 regions at risk. More than 60% of all new coronavirus infections in France are now the variant first detected in the UK, Castex said.
“The circulation of the virus has accelerated over the past 15 days and that evolution is clearly linked to the progression of the English variant,” he said. Castex said France had to do everything it could to avoid a third lockdown.