The French interior minister has said religious services will be allowed over the Easter weekend, as long as they finish before the 7pm curfew, but warned people to stay at home and not mix as Covid cases soar.
“We encourage our compatriots not to gather for this [Easter] weekend unfortunately, because in this fight against Covid, there is a small victory at the end of everyone’s behavior,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told BFMTV on Wednesday, adding that there would be no relaxation of Covid rules.
Darmanin called on citizens not to meet with people outside of the family or to leave the privacy of their homes to celebrate Easter. “I know it is particularly frustrating, tiring, sad, for a large part of French families,” he added.
Despite soaring Covid-19 rates and a call to stop people from mixing, the interior minister said church services in the largely Catholic country can still go ahead under certain circumstances. “Religious services will be able to be held, in the hours envisaged before the curfew, thus before 7pm. The prime minister specified this morning that the churches will have to have two chairs between two family entities, between two people, to avoid contamination,” he noted.
France has brought in a series of new restrictions as Covid-19 cases soar and the more contagious British variant of the virus becomes increasingly prevalent. Darmanin admitted the situation is “very worrying” and reiterated the need for French people to abide by the new rules and avoid spreading the virus.
On Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron told reporters that more measures would be needed to stem the third wave of the virus, adding that vaccinations would take place “morning, noon and night” in order to protect the most vulnerable.
At 4,447, the number of people in intensive care is now approaching the figures reached at the peak of the second wave in mid-November. Two members of Macron’s cabinet, Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne and Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot, have been hospitalized with the virus in the last week. Borne was released from hospital on Wednesday, the same day Bachelot was admitted.
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