French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday the "reinforced braking" measures will be extended to the whole country to stem the third wave of Covid-19 and schools will be closed for three weeks. 

"The rules in force in 19 departments under reinforced surveillance will be extended to the whole of France, starting from Saturday evening and for four weeks," said Macron in a televised speech to the nation.

"We will close, for three weeks, nurseries, primary and middle schools," he said.

"Since the beginning of March, France has entered a race against time. We will lose control if we do not move now," said Macron, adding that "44 per cent of (coronavirus) patients in intensive care are now under 65 years old."

His announcement means that restrictions on movement that are already in place for more than a week in Paris and some northern and southern provinces will apply to the whole country at least for a month now, which will go into effect from Saturday. 

The safeguard education from the pandemic, Macron said schools in the nation will remain shut for three weeks after this weekend. Learning will be carried remotely for a week, after which schools go on a two-week holiday, which for most of the country will be earlier than scheduled. Nursery and primary school children will return to school while middle and high school pupils continue distance learning for an extra week.

Macron said, "It is the best solution to slow down the virus," adding that France had resulted in keeping its schools open for longer during the pandemic than many neighbours.

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Starting from mid-April people over 60 in France will be able to get vaccinated, from May 15 the vaccination will be open to people aged between 50 and 60 and from mid-June, the age limit will be lifted, said Macron.

"All the French aged over 18 who wish to be vaccinated will have the jabs by the end of this summer," he pledged.



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