French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. (Photo: AFP)
Paris (People's Daily) -- COVID-19 has claimed over 178 lives in France in the last 24 hours, bringing the nationwide death toll to 25,987, according to a press release issued by the French Health Agency on Thursday. Hospitals reported 16,386 virus-related deaths, while 9,601 fatalities occurred at nursing homes and other medico-social establishments.
The number of COVID-19 patients undergoing treatment is 23,208, with 2,961 in intensive care, a decrease of 186 from the previous day.
French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe detailed the government’s plan in a news conference to ease COVID-19 confinement measures beginning May 11.
Philippe explained that the lockdown restrictions would be gradual and aimed at preventing a second outbreak. He also said the government was looking to strike the right balance between the indispensable resumption of economic life and the need to ensure public safety.
Starting Monday, people will be permitted to move freely up to 100 km from their homes. Anyone traveling beyond the maximum distance will need official permission. Public transportation will require face masks for all passengers aged 11 and older. Violators will be fined 135 euros.
France’s Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, announced that “a million students will be welcomed by about 130,000 teachers” next week. In total, between “80 percent and 85 percent” of the approximately 50,500 schools will reopen on May 12.
French Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner confirmed that “no event of more than 5,000 people” can take place before September. This will notably have an impact on sport. Similarly, rallies organized on public roads or in private places are currently limited to 10 people.
The deconfinement “should not be a sign of a relaxation of our vigilance,” warned Philippe and later emphasized that May 11 would mark “the beginning of a new phase.”
Phillippe also said that when the lockdown measures are relaxed, everyone will need to remain disciplined and act responsibly.