Paris, Nov 26 (IANS) France will make Covid-19 booster shots available to all adults aged 18 years and above from Saturday, Health Minister Olivier Veran announced.
Facing the fifth wave of the pandemic which is "without any doubt, more violent and lasts longer", Veran told the media that health authorities now recommend a booster shot five months, instead of six, after completing primary vaccination, reports Xinhua news agency.
According to the Minister, 19 million people in France are now eligible for the booster shots.
Till date, more than 51.8 million people in France, or 76.8 per cent of the population, have received at least one vaccine dose, and some 6 million have received their booster shots.
Also from January 15, 2022, a health pass will no longer be valid without a booster shot, he announced.
Veran continued that rules on barrier gestures will also be tightened in France.
The use of masks is mandatory in all enclosed places from Friday onwards, even when the health pass is required, such as cinemas, theatres and museums.
Local authorities could also decide if wearing a mask should be mandatory in crowded open-air areas, he said, adding that health pass will be required for entering Christmas markets.
From November 29, for those who are not vaccinated, the Minister said PCR and antigen tests will only have a 24-hour validity for the health pass, rather than the current 72 hours.
Veran stressed that France could succeed in passing the fifth wave without further restrictive measures, ruling out the possibility of a lockdown and curfew.
As of Friday morning, France has registered a total of 7,619,656 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 119,758 deaths.