French scientific advisor: no need to close schools despite British virus variant

FILE PHOTO: A placard which reads "Covid-19 PCR test : come and get tested for free and without an appointment" is seen at the elementary school Maurice Thorez in Bagneux, France, January 8, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - There is no need to close schools in France but new restrictive measures must be taken to slow further coronavirus infections and in particular the spread of the British variant, the government's top scientific advisor said on Wednesday.

"We think English data on the variant are not definitive enough to lead us to recommend the closing of schools in France", Delfraissy told franceinfo radio.

He said the British variant accounted for an estimated 1% of the new COVID-19 infections in France.

"The immediate challenge is not to eliminate it but to slow its progression by taking a number of restrictive measures," he continued.

President Emmanuel Macron is meeting with senior ministers on Wednesday morning to discuss a possible further tightening of measures.

A nationwide curfew could be brought forward to 6 p.m. from 8 p.m., as has already happened in some parts of the east and southeast, French media reported.

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Richard Lough)

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