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France opens Covid jab for all adults in competition with variants

France on Monday opened up Covid-19 vaccines to all adults, a week before Germany, as Europe races to avoid another wave of infections caused by new virus variants.

So far, 25.4 million people have received a first shot of a vaccine, representing about 38% of the population and nearly one in two adults.

Until now, people over 50, workers in professions particularly exposed to the virus and younger adults with underlying health problems were given priority.

With the country just beginning to bounce back from a severe third wave of infections, President Emmanuel Macron’s government is keen to quickly expand the vaccine coverage to slow the spread of variants that could spell fresh disaster.

Macron announced on Monday that he and his wife Brigitte had been vaccinated.
“Like Brigitte and I, like 25 million French people have already done, let’s get vaccinated! To protect ourselves, to protect our loved ones,” tweeted Macron, who contracted Covid in December.

Both France and Germany have over the past week imposed new restrictions on travel from the UK, to curb the spread of the Indian variant blamed for a surge of cases in parts of Britain.

In a severe blow to the French tourism sector, British and other non-EU nationals travelling from the UK to France starting Monday have to provide a “compelling” reason to enter the country.

Germany meanwhile has imposed a two-week quarantine for travellers arriving from the UK.