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Iran Press TV

Macron refuses to impose 3rd lockdown in France over fears of more protests

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 31 January 2021 7:13 AM

French President Emmanuel Macron has defended his decision not to impose a third COVID-19 lockdown in France despite a surge in cases and a faltering vaccine rollout.

Macron, who faces discontent and protests fueled by economic hardships, said on Saturday that he had held off on a third lockdown for the time being.

He urged the French to do all they can to contain the epidemic. "I have trust in us. These hours that we are living through are crucial. Let's do all we can to slow the epidemic together," he tweeted.

France has reported a surge in COVID-19 cases, recording 24,393 new infections on Saturday, up from 22,858 the day before.

The number of hospitalized COVID patients was also above 27,000 for a fifth straight day.

Macron has faced criticism for rolling out vaccines at a far slower pace than other big EU countries. France's latest figures showed it had given just 1.45 million vaccine doses so far, way behind Britain at 8.4 million, for instance.

From Sunday, France will close its borders to all but essential travel to and from countries outside the European Union. Travelers arriving from within the bloc will have to show a negative test.

Elsewhere, other European countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Portugal and Britain are in dire straits due to the COVID crisis.

Last weeks, anti-lockdown protesters across the Netherlands clashed with police in massive demonstrations.

Protesters looted stores, and set fires in huge rallies against tougher COVID-19 limits, leading to the arrest of nearly 260.

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