COVID-19 IN FRANCE

France lays path for gradual easing of virus restrictions

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday "the peak of the third wave of the pandemic seems to be behind us", as France prepares to slowly reopen.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday "the peak of the third wave of the pandemic seems to be behind us", as France prepares to slowly reopen. REUTERS - POOL

The French government has laid a path for a gradual easing of restrictions next month, with domestic travel limits to be lifted from 3 May – a week after some schools reopen.

Advertising

Amid an “improving” health situation, Prime Minister Jean Castex said French people would no longer need a certificate to travel more than 10 kilometres from their homes.

"The peak of the third wave of the pandemic seems to be behind us, with a genuine drop in viral circulation in the past 10 days,” Castex told journalists.

Non-essential shops, sports and cultural activities and outdoor restaurant terraces could reopen in mid-May, virus figures permitting.

After three weeks off, kindergarten and primary school children will be able to return to class from 26 April, followed by high school students a week later.

Accelerated vaccination

France's vaccine campaign is gaining pace after a slow start, with more than 13 million people now given at least a first dose.

"Thanks to this exceptional mobilisation, we are on track to reach our goal of 20 million people having received a first injection by mid-May and 30 million by mid-June," Castex said in a tweet.

However Public Health Agency figures show intensive care units remain crowded – with 5,981 patients on Thursday compared to 5,959 the day before.

A nationwide 7pm-6am curfew is to remain in force for now.

France’s official timetable for “deconfinement” is expected to be unveiled by President Emmanuel Macron at the end of the month.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning