Latest coronavirus: Macron plans four-step easing of French lockdown

French President Emmanuel Macron has presented a four-step interim easing of the Covid-19 lockdown in the country, starting next week and ending at the end of June.

“Our battle now is to vaccinate as quickly as possible to increase our collective immunity,” he said in an interview with regional newspapers.

“The big difference between today and October is that today we have vaccines that pave the way for a sustainable exit from the crisis. We have seen the effectiveness of the curfew, combined with the arrival of vaccines in January. “

As part of Macron’s plan, the ban on non-essential travel more than 10 km from the house will end on May 3.

On May 19, the start time of the nighttime curfew will be extended from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., while shops, museums, cinemas and theaters will be allowed to reopen under strict social distancing rules, and restaurants and cafes will be allowed. to serve tables of up to six people outside.

On June 9, the start of the curfew will be further postponed to 11 p.m., restaurants and cafes will be able to serve indoors and outdoors (although with restrictions on the number), the obligation to work from home for offices will be lightened, cultural and sporting venues can accommodate up to 5,000 people with a health passport and foreign tourists will be allowed to enter, always with a health passport.

Finally, on June 30, most of the remaining restrictions will be lifted.

However, each stage of the relaxation of the lockdown rules could be delayed in the departments where the rate of infections is higher than 400 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is currently the case in the Paris region and around Marseille.

French hospitals in many parts of the country remain under pressure from Covid-19 patients in intensive care – with more than 300 hospital coronavirus deaths recorded on a typical day – but recent data suggests that the ‘third wave’ of the pandemic has reached a peak.

A study published by the Institut Pasteur this week indicated that it was possible for hospitalizations to skyrocket if the lockdown measures were lifted too quickly from mid-May, “even though optimistic forecasts on the rate of vaccination are justified ”.

France administered more than 478,000 vaccines on Wednesday, bringing the total number of vaccines issued to nearly 21 million. Nearly 15 million people in France, or 22% of the population, have received at least one blow.