France urges renewed faith in AstraZeneca vaccine as campaign kicks off again

France urges renewed faith in AstraZeneca vaccine as campaign kicks off again

France reported 35,000 new cases on Thursday, with more Covid patients in intensive care in Paris than at the peak of the second wave.

France had suspended the jab after a number of people in Europe reported blood clots developing after the vaccine was administered.

Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, France on Thursday announced limited lockdown in Paris and several other regions to combat the virus.

"The moment has come to go further, with more demanding restrictions where things are most critical".

President Emmanuel Macron still hopes a vaccination drive can stave off effects of a new pandemic wave triggered by more contagious variants, and prevent France from resorting to a third national lockdown.

Now was the time to tighten restrictions, Castex said.

"This is the time required for them to create a substantial impact, unless of course, if significant positive results have not been seen in the meantime, then it is also the time that is important in helping us reach the first level". Travel out of the worst-hit areas will not permitted without a compelling reason.

Schools in these departments will remain open while rules in places of worship remain unchanged, Castex said the trip will be overseen but under more flexible rules during March and November.

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"Outdoor activities permitted in a 10-km range".

Germany is also to resume use of the AstraZeneca vaccine; Berlin said two large vaccination centres that offer the AstraZeneca shot to people in the German capital will reopen Friday.

As well as the greater Paris region, the northern Hauts-de-France, Seine-Maritime and Eure areas will go under lockdown as well as the Alpes-Maritimes on the French Riviera.

"I am confident public trust in the vaccine will be restored", the French PM said.

Meanwhile, the nationwide curfew will be relaxed across the country and will end at 7:00 p.m., rather than at 6:00 p.m., given the longer days, the prime minister said.

Hospital admissions increased by 75 to 25,389, while the number of those in intensive care units totaled 4,246, an increase of 27 from Wednesday.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex is due to get the AstraZeneca vaccine himself on Friday.

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