France eases lockdown measures, says vaccination not compulsory

A tablet screen displays the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron addressing the nation from the Elysee Palace in Bois-Colombes, near Paris, France, 24 November 2020. [EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BLUMBERG]

“The peak of the second wave of the pandemic has passed. (…) Our efforts, your efforts have paid off,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, during his televised address on Tuesday evening.

However, telework should continue to be prioritised and private meetings, family gatherings and all “unnecessary” travel avoided, the French head of state added.

Although the lockdown continues to be maintained, the French will be allowed as of Saturday to go on walks for three hours within a  20-km radius of their homes, rather than the current one hour-one limit. Small shops will also be able to reopen.

For its second phase, France could replace the current lockdown as of 15 December with a curfew from 9pm to 7am, as long as the country does not record more than 5,000 COVID-19 infections per day.

However, Christmas and New Year’s Eve will be spared from a curfew, the president added.

Macron also said vaccines would be available from late December – early January and a second round of doses will arrive in the spring. “It’s a tremendous ray of hope. Vaccination will be done in a transparent framework and, let’s be clear, it will not be compulsory,” Macron said.

(Louise Rozès Moscovenko |

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