As France brings in tougher restrictions to combat a fourth wave of coronavirus, a leading scientist has warned the country not to expect a return to normal life before 2022 or even 2023.
Professor Jean-Francois Delfraissy, who heads France's Scientific Council advising the government on its Covid strategy, told BFMTV on Friday that patience would be needed.
"We will probably have a new variant and we will be entering into something long term," he said.
Defraissy emphasised the need to maintain hand-washing and wask-wearing in crowded or enclosed places, even for those who are vaccinated.
He also warned that nightclubs, now allowed to open under restricted conditioned, were places of risk. In European countries with high levels of vaccination, large case clusters had begun in nightclubs, he added.
France is logging tens of thousands of new coronavirus cases each day, with Health Minister Olivier Véran warning that rising infections showed the "gravity" of the health crisis.
Defraissy said France could see as many as 50,000 new daily cases by the beginning of August, with hospitals feeling the sting by the second half of the month.
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The government is banking on vaccination to curb the pandemic, and says it hopes to administer 50 million first vaccine doses by the end of August.
Parliament is this week debating a controversial bill that would require "health passes" to access public spaces, and would force healthcare workers to get vaccinated.