PARIS -- Thousands of people around France are spending the Easter holiday lining up for COVID-19 shots as the government tries to speed up vaccinations amid a new surge of infections.
In Lyon, a soccer team opened its stadium as a mass vaccination center and provided 200 volunteers to help medical personnel and firefighters.
The team's president expressed hope that the effort would help create “social cohesion” as France entered a third partial lockdown.
But as Europe faced its second Easter Sunday in a row under the cloud of the pandemic, some French cities pushed back against President Emmanuel Macron’s insistence on vaccinating through the long holiday weekend.
French hospitals boost Easter staff to battle virus resurge
French hospitals have brought in extra staff for the Easter holiday weekend to cope with growing numbers of virus patients.
Meanwhile French travelers are converging on train stations and highways to flee the big cities before new nationwide restrictions take hold on Sunday.
A new virus variant is spreading fast in France and intensive care units are as full as they were last April.
So the government has closed all the schools and imposed stricter new rules that were taking effect Sunday around the country.
French authorities are also trying to speed up vaccination efforts and police have been deployed to enforce the new virus restrictions.
France is still under a 7 p.m. curfew.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.