France unveil plan to start easing Covid-19 lockdown

Reuters , Thursday 7 May 2020

A soldier of French antiterrorist plan "Vigipirate Mission", patrols front of Sacre Coeur Basilica in the Montmartre district in Paris, Thursday, May 7, 2020 AP

French Prime Edouard Philippe said on Thursday that the government will reinforce the national lockdown it is partially lifting on Monday if the spread of the new coronavirus acclerates again.

"We have always said that we would rather not have to, if possible, resort to that (a new lockdown) but also that, in the event that there was no other option, we would not rule it out," Philippe told a televised news conference.

"The timing of this type of measure would depend on the speed of circulation of the disease and on other factors."

We are ready to start unwinding its coronavirus lockdown as planned, the prime minister said earlier in the news conference, although some regions including the Paris area where the disease is still circulating will keep some restrictions. 

France is "ready to massively test" people suspected of having the coronavirus and anyone who has come into contact with them from next week, the country's health minister said Thursday.

Olivier Veran said France will be able carry out 700,000 PCR tests a week for the virus from Monday when it begins the fraught process of relaxing its almost eight-week lockdown.

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