France says coronavirus crisis is easing, but far from over – EURACTIV.com

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The situation of coronaviruses in France is improving “slowly but surely” and the shortage of protective equipment such as face masks is shrinking, said Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Sunday, April 19, although he warned that the crisis was far from over.

France – which has recorded nearly 20,000 deaths as a result of the pandemic and has the fourth highest death toll in the world – has been in virtual detention for almost five weeks and should start lifting some containment measures from May 11 .

Philippe said at a press conference that the decline in the number of people in intensive care was one of the encouraging signs that pressures on hospitals were decreasing.

But it put an end to all expectations that the gradual exit from childbirth in May, due to the reopening of schools, would allow people to move or interact as before, especially since a vaccine against the virus was still far away.

“It will not be a return to normal life,” said Philippe, adding that as France introduces more tests, people with coronavirus should remain isolated at home or in hotels planned by the government. “From May 11, we will enter a second phase, when we find some of our freedoms.”

The French state has yet to give details on the rate of reopening of businesses like cinemas or bars, saying only that as some stores reopen, people will need to maintain safe distances from each other. other.

France will, however, lift its ban on visiting residents of retirement homes, provided that people have not touched their relatives, said Health Minister Olivier Véran at the same briefing. Elderly people in nursing homes account for almost 40% of coronavirus deaths in the country.

The government has been criticized in recent weeks after the shortage of drugs, hospital equipment such as ventilators and masks for doctors as well as front-line workers in sectors such as supermarkets, compounding management problems. crisis.

Philippe said that last week France managed to import just under 81 million masks, for the first time “in a long time” exceeding its weekly requirements of around 45 million.

By June, France will also have secured and produced an additional 15,000 ventilators for resuscitation units in hospitals and another 15,000 other lighter versions – which will help it exceed its planned needs.

“This will allow us not only to secure our situation, but subsequently to also mobilize a few fans to help France’s allies internationally,” said Philippe.

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