PARIS (Reuters) – France will seek to avoid setting different rules for the elderly and other forms of discrimination once the government begins to relax its measures to contain coronaviruses, the office of the French president said.
France’s lockdown to fight the epidemic, which, like in Spain, Italy and many other European countries, includes restrictions on store openings and movement of people, will remain in place until May 11 at least, said President Emmanuel Macron earlier this week.
After that, schools and stores are expected to reopen, although the speed at which France will allow certain businesses such as hotels or cafes to restart is still unclear, and whether it plans to lift the recommendations on containment house for everyone at the same time.
Speculation has grown in recent days over whether the elderly, who are considered more vulnerable to the deadly virus, should stay at home longer.
The remarks made this week in the French Senate by Professor Jean-François Delfraissy – who heads the scientific council responsible for advising the government on the epidemic – notably triggered a backlash, after declaring that for people aged 65 or 70 , internment could continue.
“The president has followed the growing debate on the plight of the elderly after May 11,” the Elysee Palace said on Saturday in comments to Reuters.
“He does not want any discrimination among citizens after May 11 in the context of a gradual relaxation of containment measures, and will appeal to the individual responsibility of the people. “
The number of deaths recorded in France due to coronavirus infections on Friday approached 19,000, but most of the data provided additional indications that the spread of the disease was slowing after the month-long national shutdown.
Report by Michel Rose, written by Sarah White; Editing by Toby Chopra
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