French government presents road map for easing

French government presents road map for easing

In France, as part of the relaxation of the coronavirus restrictions, visits to old people’s and nursing homes are to be allowed again.

© Photo: Thibault Camus / AP / dpa
Health Minister Olivier Veran talks about easing exit restrictions.

From Monday there will be another right to visit, albeit with restrictions, said French Health Minister Olivier Veran at a press conference with Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. No more than two relatives may visit a resident in a senior or social care facility at the same time. In addition, physical contact is still prohibited, said Veran. The visit ban has been in effect since mid-March.

The situation regarding the spread of the Sars-CoV-2 virus in France had worsened in recent weeks, particularly in the care facilities. 45 percent of all facilities nationwide reported at least one case that tested positive for the coronavirus, said Veran.

France has had strict exit restrictions since mid-March. They should last until May 11th. From then on, schools and kindergartens should gradually open again, but the universities should not open before summer. According to Philippes, it has not yet been decided how exactly the school should open. An option is that opening schools in less affected areas first.

“Our life from May 11th will not be the life of before,” said Prime Minister Philippe. The health crisis continues. The French could not “immediately return” to everyday life that they were used to. Philippe said that it is likely that wearing a protective mask on public transport could become mandatory.

Among other things, in shops, there should be a gap when standing in line. Restaurants, cafes or hotels are said to remain closed for the time being. The companies are also encouraged to continue the regulations for work in the home office.

According to health authorities, more than 19,700 people have been killed in France as a result of a coronavirus infection. The goal is to conduct around half a million tests per week on people who showed symptoms or had contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus, said Health Minister Veran. The widespread implementation of tests is an important pillar of easing in May.

For senior citizens or the chronically ill, who are considered to be more susceptible to the virus, according to head of state Emmanuel Macron, there should be no special rules for relaxing the restrictions. Macron said Friday that he wanted to avoid discrimination against certain groups. But he appealed to people’s “individual responsibility”. Speculation had previously increased as to whether particularly vulnerable people had to stay at home longer.

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