French PM unveils final strategy to exit Covid-19 lockdown

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe during a video conference at Matignon hotel on 30 April 2020.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe during a video conference at Matignon hotel on 30 April 2020. © AFP - LUDOVIC MARIN

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is to outline full details of the government's exit strategy on Thursday, four days before the country is due to begin easing lockdown restrictions.   


On Thursday, people in France will find out what awaits them on Monday 11 May if the 2-month lockdown is lifted. 

Edouard Philippe, who has promised there will be no easy return to normal, is due to present the first phase of the government's exit plan at 16:00 local time. 

Many questions hang in the balance, including whether the exit will go ahead as planned on Monday.  

Philippe had said previously that if the indicators were bad the lockdown would be extended.

The indicators guiding his choice include the evolution of the pandemic, the ability of hospitals to deliver critical care and testing capacity.


Red or green?

From 11 May,  the country is due to carry out 700,000 tests per week up from 150,000 currently according to Health Minister Olivier Veran. There will be a total of 30,000 respiratory-assistance machines by end-June.

Edouard Philippe is expected to present the definitive map splitting the country into red and green zones to determine how the lockdown will be lifted.

Red areas will face stricter lockdown measures, while green zones will be able to loosen restrictions more rapidly based on their health situation.

Philippe will also map out how schools and transport will reopen, how people will return to work and where they can travel.

Death toll down

The French premier announced previously that people would be allowed to travel up to 100 kilometres (60 miles) around their residence without a justification form. Movement beyond 100 kms will still need a justification form.

France on Wednesday recorded 278 deaths in 24 hours, down from 330 the previous day, taking the total number of deaths due to Covid-19 to 25,809.

Philippe is due to present the second phase of his end-of-lockdown strategy on 2 June.



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