French Prime Minister Jean Castex has given the country’s schoolchildren permission to skip school on Thursday and Friday, so they can self-isolate with their families before the Christmas period begins.

The French Medical Council told schools that they should not prevent or punish students who miss the last couple of days of the current school term to ensure that the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is minimized.

Speaking to radio station Europe 1, Castex backed the recommendation, responding that “of course” he supports it, if it helps to protect individuals from the coronavirus.

Earlier this week, the medical council issued official guidance advising that anyone wishing to visit elderly or vulnerable individuals should self-isolate for a week before their trips, to ensure that they do not pose a Covid-19 risk to family members.

Countries throughout Europe are currently considering how to balance allowing people to travel home to see their families for Christmas against the need to prevent further significant outbreaks of the virus.

The French government has announced that it will lift the ongoing six-week lockdown as part of a plan to slowly ease Covid-19 restrictions, replacing it with a curfew during the night. However, cinemas, concert venues, cultural sites, museums, and theaters will remain closed until the new year.

France has seen a significant drop in Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, falling from 11,533 on Sunday to 3,063 on Monday. However, fatalities doubled from 155 to 372 in the same time period.

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