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Paris on brink of new lockdown as Wales prepare to head to France for Six Nations Grand Slam showdown

Paris is on the verge of being put into a new lockdown as Wales prepare to head to the French capital for their Grand Slam showdown this weekend.

The French government is set to impose tougher restrictions for various regions including Paris from this weekend to try and halt new Covid infections, with intensive care wards in the wider Paris region reported to be full and the hospital system facing huge pressure.

France 24 reports that spokesman Gabriel Attal told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday that new measures for Paris could include some form of lockdown.

New measures are set to be announced on Thursday.

An incident rate of more than 400 cases per 100,000 people is reported in the Paris region, while France reported 38,501 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday – a rise from 29,975 in the previous 24 hours.

Wales face France in Paris on Saturday evening (8pm UK time kick-off/9pm local time), with Wayne Pivac’s going in search of a Grand Slam at Stade de France.

A lockdown is not expected to impact the clash at this stage, with both camps undergoing stringent Covid protocols to limit the risk of transmission.

Asked whether he had received assurances that the game was not in any sort of jeopardy, Wayne Pivac told reporters on Thursday: “Nothing has come through at all that would suggest any change.”

When Wales faced France last October in a pre-autumn campaign friendly, Paris was under a strict 9pm curfew meaning Wales found themselves playing at a deserted Stade de France, an 80,000-capacity stadium with hardly a soul in sight.

Pivac added: “We’ve been in this situation before.

“I think there was a curfew when we were out in France for that warm-up Test match. So it’s very similar circumstances with the late kick off time.

“Everything is pretty much the same in that respect.”

It had been hoped that France could avoid a new wave of Covid cases with more contagious variants with their vaccination programme, but the roll-out has been slow – not helped by the suspension of vaccinations using AstraZeneca shots in more than a dozen EU countries including France.

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