French President to outline exit strategy in Friday address

French President Emmanuel Macron will deliver a speech to the nation on Friday to outline the government’s strategy to gradually ease pandemic restrictions.

Prime Minister Jean Castex told a news conference on Wednesday that France’s Covid-19 situation was slowly improving after a punishing third wave of the pandemic.

He said the government’s strategy to lift restrictions would be “progressive and phased”.

“The epidemic situation continues to improve at a regular pace. Virus circulation remains high but is on a real downward trend even though its impact on hospitalisation is limited notably on the number of people in intensive care units,” said Castex after a meeting of the French cabinet.

France’s main Covid-19 indicators all showed some signs of improvement on Tuesday, with the seven-day number of daily new infections falling to 27,856, standing below 28,000 for the first time in more than a month.

Possible timetable

Some dates have already been confirmed for the lifting of the ‘partial lockdown’ measures that have been in place across the country since 3rd April, while others are yet to be announced.

On 3rd May, the 10km limit on travel will be scrapped and there will be no more need for attestations, confirmed the prime minister last week. Travel throughout France for any reason will be allowed, opening the doors for foreign tourists and lifting travel restrictions between France and Monaco.

By mid-May, restaurant, café and bar terraces are likely to reopen, however this may happen on a regional basis, starting with areas that have lower Covid circulation rates.

“I don’t think we will be able to open restaurants in, say, late May or in June, in departments where the virus is circulating quickly,” Macron told journalists on Monday. “But in others, where the circulation has fallen a lot, I think we’ll have to open them.”

For the week of 14th to 20th April, the incidence rate was 186 in the Alpes-Maritimes, compared to around 650 at the end of February.

As of 20th April, 413,210 vaccinations (1st and 2nd doses) had been carried out in the Alpes-Maritimes.

The government is also under pressure from business owners to reopen “non-essential” shops in early May

READ ALSO: Is this the timeline for France’s reopening?

Photo by Ian Langsdon, AFP

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