France set to approve COVID-19 booster shots for all adults

France is set to authorize booster shots for all adults and impose strict masking rules as it struggles to contain a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, Reuters cited French media as reporting on Wednesday.

France is currently offering boosters only to health workers, people over 65 and to those with chronic conditions. 

French Health Minister Olivier Veran is scheduled to hold a press conference on Thursday to provide an update on the booster dose for adults, according to Reuters. 

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The country will further reduce the time between full vaccination and a booster shot from six months to five months. PCR tests for the nonvaccinated will be valid for just one day, BFM TV and daily newspaper Le Figaro said, per Reuters.

The country's new regulations will also pave the way for booster shots as a requirement for a valid health pass, which is required by everyone in France to enter restaurants, cafes, cinemas and museums, among other public venues.

The announcement comes one week after Veran tweeted that the government would "soon" make booster shots available to people over 40. The country has already announced boosters for anyone over 50 starting Dec. 1.

On Tuesday, France recorded more than 30,000 new COVID-19 infections over 24 hours for the first time since August. Daily new cases were up 54 percent from last week, Reuters reported.

The World Health Organization has called Europe “the epicenter” of the coronavirus pandemic, with the region accounting for majority of new cases and deaths in recent weeks.

France is one of the countries in Europe that has not imposed a lockdown on its citizens to curb rising COVID-19 cases. 

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday that the government wants to avoid major curbs on public life, preferring stricter social distancing, an accelerated vaccination booster campaign and tightened rules around health passes, Reuters said.