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France is set to extend its curfew on COVID-19 to an additional eight departments, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Saturday, citing a “tough and necessary” response as some opposed restrictions in several cities.

France has tightened its antivirus restrictions in the face of rising cases, imposing a New Year’s curfew on 15 of its 101 departments from 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) and the rest on 8 p.m. imprisonment.

In these 15 countries, the virus is spreading most strongly in a country where around 67,000 people have died in around 2.7 million cases and the rate of reproduction is escalating.

The new departments, which are likely to be subject to an earlier curfew, are mainly located in the east of the country, including Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and Cote d’Or, as well as in the central department of Cher.

Castex highlighted the southern port of Marseille, France’s second largest city, where local politicians of all kinds opposed an extension of the partial lockdown and questioned its effectiveness.

“In reality, we are applying the same criteria to Marseille as elsewhere,” said Castex, confirming that the previous lockdown would be extended to eight departments, including the Bouches-du-Rhone, which also includes Marseille.

“Everyone is aware that the epidemic is not getting weaker or, on the contrary, it is getting worse in some areas,” said Castex.

Castex also defended the government’s vaccine adoption strategy, which has been criticized in some areas for its slow start.

“The goal is to go fast, (but) do it under absolutely perfect safety conditions.”

Opinion polls show that around half of the French population is skeptical of the sting – their opposition is significantly higher than in neighboring countries.

Castex underlined what he called the “credibility” of the vaccination strategy, adding, “It has to be done because it will help us find a way out of this serious and worsening health crisis.”

Health Minister Olivier Veran emphasized that France would increase the vaccination rate from next week.

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