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.
Macron’s latest announcements have sparked a violent backlash in recent days, after declaring Monday that the elderly, believed to be more vulnerable to the deadly virus, will be asked to stay at home longer.
Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council charged with advising the government on the epidemic, also fueled the debate after proposing the continuation of internment for people aged 65 to 70 and over.
“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 government is nevertheless likely to recommend that some people stay home for their own protection.
“We will ask the most vulnerable, the elderly, the severely disabled and those with chronic illnesses, to remain in detention even after May 11, at least for the time being,” Macron said in his speech. from April 13. “I know this is a major constraint … But we will have to try to respect that to protect you, it is in your interest.”
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; edited by Toby Chopra and Ros Russell)