France in lockdown panic: Omicron spreads ‘like lightning’ – warning economy at risk

Brexit: France and UK must 'learn to co-exist' says Deas

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The news comes as country’s Prime Minister, Jean Castex, described how the Omicron variant is “spreading like lightning”. France has announced a series of restrictions and accelerated rates of its booster rollout to halt the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. However, mayor of Perpignan Louis Aliot has warned the French economy “would not withstand another lockdown”.

The member of the French far-right political party Rassemblement National today tweeted: “Our economy would not withstand another confinement.

“If we move towards additional restrictive measures, I think that small businesses, the cultural world, and tourism would be severely impacted.”

In a video published on the Reassemblement National Twitter page, the mayor of Perpignan stated: “I don’t think our economy would withstand another lockdown.

“Now we see that the Netherlands, despite their high vaccination rates, was forced to impose a new lockdown to cope with the rising number of cases.

“I think that in France we are doing well by not going into another lockdown, at least for the moment, we are doing well by not imposing curfews.

“We are also doing well by not limiting consumption.

“I am thinking in particular of small businesses that have suffered a lot with the lockdowns and curfews we have had during the pandemic.

“The cultural world, museums, theatres, business tourism are sectors that are suffering enormously.

“I think that if we go towards further restrictions on freedom, we will put this sector of the economy at huge risk.”

French authorities have urged citizens to get vaccinated against coronavirus before the beginning of Christmas holiday festivities.

Infections have surged in the nation and the government is trying to avoid another lockdown.

The French government has been monitoring the situation in the UK with concern and enforced travel restrictions as British cases of Omicron increase.

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The Foreign Office travel advice for UK travels states: “From Saturday, December 18 all those wishing to travel from the UK to France regardless of vaccination status can only do so for essential reasons, as defined by the French authorities.

“French nationals, as well as residents in France, are considered to have an essential reason for travel.”

Prime Minister Jean Castex told a news conference on Friday that, “the fifth wave is here and it is here in full force”.

He likened the spread of the highly mutated Omicron variant in Europe to “lightning”.

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