France will extend a health emergency imposed to fight the new coronavirus pandemic for two months until July 24, said Health Minister Olivier Veran.
A bill says that this month’s lifting of the emergency, which began on March 24, would be premature and could escalate the epidemic.
“We are going to have to run a long distance race,” said Veran on Saturday, adding that he was aware that the French had already been invited to “colossal efforts” in the fight against the virus.
The bill will go to the Senate on Monday and to the National Assembly the next day, government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said. He should become law by the end of the week.
The new emergency bill also sets quarantine conditions for people coming from France from abroad.
Veran said travelers to France, including French returnees, will face a two-week mandatory quarantine and possible isolation upon arrival in the country.
“This quarantine will be imposed on anyone returning to French soil,” Veran said at a press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.
He said the duration and conditions of quarantine for asymptomatic people and isolation for those with symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, would be defined in a decree to be published.
The decisions to isolate people will be reviewed by the judges to make sure they are justified and fair, he added.
It was not immediately clear whether quarantine would only apply to people arriving outside the open Schengen area in Europe, whether they should self-isolate at home or in hotels, and for how many. time the measures would be in place.
France is one of the European countries most affected by the virus and has reported 24,594 deaths from 167,346 confirmed cases.
The government has announced the gradual lifting of certain blocking measures from May 11, including the reopening of primary schools.
Many stores will also reopen and teleworkers will be able to return to their offices while France is fighting against the economic effects of the coronavirus which has already plunged the country into recession.
In the latest example of the losses involved, the president of the national rail operator SNCF said on Saturday that his company had already lost two billion euros ($ 2.2 billion) in the crisis, and would probably ask for help from State and would downsize.