France’s coronavirus lockdown ‘very likely’ to be extended

France's coronavirus lockdown 'very likely' to be extended
Photo: AFP
France's two-week home confinement will "very likely" have to be extended to curb the novel coronavirus pandemic, the head of the country's public health agency said on Thursday.

“Between two and four weeks” would be required for the outbreak to be contained, Genevieve Chene – director general of Santé Publique France – told Franceinfo radio, which means an extension of the home confinement that began Tuesday would “very likely be necessary.”

The strict lockdown rules, brought into force at 12 noon on Tuesday, were initially set for 15 days.

However, this was described as 'a minimum of 15 days' and the government sad they would be following advice on what other measures may be necessary.

The lockdown orders everyone to stay in their homes and people are only allowed out for certain essential trips – and each time they leave home they must take a signed form with them stating the purpose of their trip.

People are allowed out for

  • Travel to and from work IF work is essential and cannot be done from home
  • Shopping for food or visiting the pharmacy
  • Medical appointments
  • Vital family reasons, such as providing care for children or the elderly, but not for family visits
  • Individual physical exercise such as jogging or walking the dog, but this must be done alone

Italy has also announced this morning that its lockdown is to be extended beyond April 3rd, its original end date.

READ ALSO France's coronavirus lockdown – your questions answered

Chene said the experience of other hard-hit countries had shown that the outbreak peaks after one to two months, and lasts about two to three months overall.

Based on the outbreak in China, where the virus first emerged in December, France's peak would happen around the middle or end of May, she added.

She said there are probably “more cases in France than can be confirmed every day.”

 


Member comments

  1. I believe the minimum would be realistic if more of the public were taking the lockdown seriously. I was dumbfounded yesterday when my neighbor’s two small kids knocked on my door asking for my annual sponsorship of their school fundraiser. What can their parents be thinking?

  2. “”Between two and four weeks” would be required for the outbreak to be contained”

    Surprised by this quote. According to my Chinese colleague, her compatriots are still in lockdown today, after it came into effect in the later half of January. I think 2 to 4 weeks is the minimum to see some positive effects on the transmission rates (it takes a while from initial infection to being formally diagnosed, if you get tested at all). So we could be in this for a while.

    However I’m no expert so what do I know.

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