Coronavirus: France Eases Lockdown, Masks Mandatory

  • Mr. Philippe admitted that the mayors and authorities in each region would apply the government policy according to the actual situation.
  • The Ministry of Health announced on the 28th that the number of new virus deaths increased by 367 to 23,660.
  • "We need to learn how to coexist with this virus," until a vaccine or an effective treatment is developed.

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe presented a plan to Parliament Tuesday, saying that the new coronavirus countermeasure lockdown will be relaxed from May 11. He said masks will be obligatory for public transport and secondary schools. Mr. Philippe said that stores and markets that sell goods that are not essential daily goods can resume operations from May 11.

Édouard Philippe is a French politician serving as Prime Minister of France since 15 May 2017 under President Emmanuel Macron. A lawyer by occupation, Philippe is a former member of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), which later became The Republicans (LR).

Bars and restaurants cannot be reopened, however. He said that stores have the right to ask customers to wear a mask and keep a 1-meter gap. Citizens will be able go out without a permission slip. Meetings of up to 10 people will also be allowed. Childcare facilities can be reopened, but each facility will only accept a maximum of 10 children.

However, since the infection status varies from region to region, Mr. Philippe admitted that the mayors and authorities in each region would apply the government policy according to the actual situation. Middle school students are obligated to use a mask. Starting from kindergarten and elementary school, the school will gradually restart.

Kindergarten will restart on the 11th of next month. Middle schools in areas where the epidemic is small are expected to be restarted from the 18th. High school is scheduled to resume at the end of next month. Students aged 11 to 15 are required to wear a mask. If it is difficult to obtain it, the government will support it. No more than 15 people should be in the classroom.

France, along with European countries, such as the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain, has been severely affected by the new coronavirus virus infection COVID-19. The Ministry of Health announced on the 28th that the number of new virus deaths increased by 367 to 23,660. The number of infected people is 129,859.

The population of France is about 67 million. On the other hand, both the number of inpatients and those in intensive care units are decreasing, which has led to cautious optimism in France.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected during the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

Learning to Coexist with the Virus

Mr. Philippe said today to Parliament today that the lockdown saved an estimated 62,000 lives in the country in a month. On top of that, it was time to loosen the restrictions to avoid an economic collapse. “We need to learn how to coexist with this virus,” until a vaccine or an effective treatment is developed.

Parliament supported Mr. Philippe’s proposal with a majority. To maintain social distance, of the nearly 600 members of parliament, only 75 were allowed into the Parliament. Other legislators voted around the Parliament.

At the same time as advocating the relaxation of the restrictions, Mr. Philippe argues that France must be careful to avoid the second wave of infection. If the number of new infections per day is less than 3,000, it is said that there will be no lockdown mitigation from the 11th of next month.

In France, the average number of new infections per day over the past two weeks is 2,162. Mr. Philippe also announced that he will aim to carry out 700,000 new virus tests a week starting next month.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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