France reveals plans to relax coronavirus lockdown from May 11

28 April 2020, 15:31

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe makes a statement to present his plan to exit from the lockdown situation at the National Assembly in Paris
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe makes a statement to present his plan to exit from the lockdown situation at the National Assembly in Paris. Picture: PA

By Megan White

France has announced plans to relax its coronavirus lockdown from May 11 - but only if the number of new infections per day falls below 3,000.

Under new proposals, nurseries and elementary schools would start reopening from May 11, with middle and high schools following later.

Shops will also be able to open, but customers will need to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Masks will also be mandatory on public transport.

However, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the measures cannot be relaxed on that date unless the number of new infections falls below 3,000 a day.

The normally packed Arc de Triomphe is deserted
The normally packed Arc de Triomphe is deserted. Picture: PA

It is thought a decision on the reopening of cafes and restaurants will be taken at the end of next month, with doors possibly reopening in early June.

The new rules would also allow for public gatherings of up to ten people, but could vary between areas as local authorities will have the final say on the measures.

The Prime Minister said: “As long as we don't have a vaccine, or reached collective immunity, the virus will continue to circulate among us.

“We therefore need to learn to live with the virus.

"The risk that a second wave, which will result in a second period of confinement is a serious risk, that must be taken seriously."

In the past two weeks, the number of new cases per day has averaged under 2,200 a day.

The government is hoping to carry out 100,000 tests per day by the May 11 target.

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