France lays path for gradual easing of virus restrictions
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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.
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.
C'est grâce à cette mobilisation exceptionnelle que nous sommes sur le bon chemin pour atteindre notre objectif de 20 millions de personnes ayant reçu une première injection à la mi-mai et 30 millions à la mi-juin. pic.twitter.com/nFmRXEVYDe— Jean Castex (@JeanCASTEX) April 22, 2021
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.
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