201125 Macron
A man watches French President Emmanuel Macron on television on November 24, 2020 in Cognocoli-Monticchi on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, as he speaks during a televised address to the Nation on the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures. Image Credit: AFP

Paris: France aims to lift a nationwide lockdown on December 15, President Emmanuel Macron said, with shops authorised to reopen as early as Saturday after weeks of closure.

In a TV address Tuesday, Macron said some restrictions would remain in place to avoid “a third coronavirus wave” or another lockdown.

The current lockdown, in force since the end of October, will be replaced by a countrywide curfew from 9pm to 7am starting December 15, Macron said, except on December 24 and 31 — Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

“We will be able to travel without authorisation, including between regions, and spend Christmas with our families,” Macron said.

French people should, however, avoid “pointless travel”, he said.

Macron also said that he hoped that the first COVID-19 vaccines would be available for use by the end of December or in early January.