France will reopen the Paris region on Monday to unlock the lock more slowly

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PARIS – France is ready to begin locking out the coronavirus from next Monday as planned, the Prime Minister said on Thursday, although some regions, including the Paris region where the disease continues to circulate, maintain certain restrictions.

The country has made enough progress to slow the spread of the virus and reduce pressure in hospitals to gradually return to normal, said Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. Schools, cafes and most stores have been closed for almost two months.

“From Monday, we will gradually cancel the lock that started on March 17 … but the country is cut in half, the virus circulating faster in certain regions, especially in the Paris region, which is very densely populated”, a- he declared.

“In the Paris region, the infection rate is slowly decreasing, but it remains very high, higher than expected. This is why, in these territories, we must be extremely vigilant. “

Beyond the Paris region, the administrative regions around Calais, Strasbourg and Dijon will also remain classified as “red zones”, where certain restrictions will remain – such as the closure of parks, gardens and high schools.

In other parts of France, secondary schools, cafes and restaurants could open from early June if the infection rate remains low, said Philippe.

Next week, about 1 million children and 130,000 teachers will return to school, said the Minister of Education.

Some 25,809 people died from COVID-19 in France, according to official data. (Report by Geert De Clercq, Benoit Van Overstraeten and Michel Rose Montage by Gareth Jones and Frances Kerry)

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