French Prime Minister Jean Castex will on Thursday set out a timetable for a gradual lifting of Covid-19 rules and restrictions in the coming months, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.

Castex will lay out the calendar along with Health Minister Olivier Veran at a press conference following a cabinet meeting on the health crisis, with France recording an average of nearly 310,000 daily cases over the past week.

On Tuesday, France posted a record 464,769 new cases in a 24-hour period.

The highly contagious Omicron variant has sparked a surge in infections but the number of Covid patients in intensive care has been falling since early January to around 3,850 people currently.

Studies have indicated that Omicron is less dangerous than other virus variants, fuelling hope that authorities will be able to ease social distancing and face mask rules for populations desperate for a return to normality.

The British government said Wednesday that most restrictions would be lifted starting next week, including the requirement for a Covid pass proving vaccination to enter public venues, citing data that showed infections had peaked.

But World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted this week that the pandemic was “nowhere near over,” warning that new variants were still likely to emerge.



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