macron mask removal
© AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool
Despite a fifth wave of Covid infections in France, Macron said France, unlike Austria, would not be confining non-vaccinated people to their homes.
As France faces a fifth wave of covid infections, President Macron says the country does not need to follow the example of Austria in imposing lockdowns on unvaccinated people.

France does not need to lock down people who haven't been vaccinated against Covid-19 because of the success of its health pass in curbing the spread of the virus, President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday.

"The countries that confine the unvaccinated are those that haven't implemented the health pass," Macron said in an interview with La Voix du Nord posted online. "This measure is therefore not necessary in France."

Macron reiterated comments made by government spokesman Gabriel Attal on Tuesday that while France was in a "state of alert", no new lockdown was planned.

Europe has again become the epicentre of the pandemic, prompting some countries including Germany and Austria to reintroduce restrictions in the run-up to Christmas.

On Monday Austria became the first EU country to confine people who have not been vaccinated or have not recently contracted Covid-19, to stem the record number of new cases.

Germany announced on Thursday it will limit large parts of public life to people who have either been vaccinated or have recovered from their illness. This came after the number of new infections jumped by 65,371 in 24 hours, the highest number since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Booster dose

France has also been hit by a new wave of Covid, with infections increasing 50 percent over the last week. With 20,366 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, the figures are considerably lower than Germany.

The French government hopes to be able to contain it and get through the winter without additional measures thanks, above all, to vaccination.

With 74.9 percent of the French fully-vaccinated, Macron pushed for higher take up. "I think we should all become ambassadors for vaccination," he said.

A third booster dose is currently available for the over 60s and most vulnerable. Close to five million people have had it.

Asked whether it should be made available to everyone, Macron said he was waiting to hear what the health authorities had to say.

"For the immunocompromised, the elderly, we know that the benefit-risk is positive," he said.

"If it turns out that a third dose is effective and necessary for other groups, obviously, we will integrate it into the logic of the health pass."

People over 50 will be eligible for a third, booster vaccination from December.

Macron announced earlier this month that the over 65's will have to show proof of the Covid-19 booster jab in order to maintain their health passes - needed to access many places in daily life.