“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.
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.”