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HEALTH

France prepares plan to re-impose lockdown if coronavirus cases spike

If the number of coronavirus cases surges again after France begins to ease lockdown restrictions on May 11th, the government has drawn up a plan to re-impose tight controls it was confirmed on Wednesday.

France prepares plan to re-impose lockdown if coronavirus cases spike
This is Jean Castex, known as moniseur déconfinement in France, or the man behind the plan to lift the lockdown. Photo: AFP

France is less than a week away from beginning to lift its strict, nationwide lockdown on May 11th. 

The government has stressed repeatedly that this easing of restrictions will depend on the development of the epidemic curve, and has not excluded postponing the whole process to a later date if necessary.

“If, as we approach May 11th, the number of daily new cases is not what we predicted, we will pay the consequences,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said as he presented the government's plan to lift the lockdown last week.

READ ALSO IN DETAIL: The plan for life in France after May 11th

Now, Jean Castex – known as monsieur déconfinement in French media – who is in charge of thrashing out the official plan to lift the lockdown, has confirmed that a re-confinement is among the possible future outcomes.

“In the plan to ease the lockdown that I have prepared, I have also presented an alternative plan of re-confinement,” he told senators on Wednesday.

Referring to the government’s coronavirus maps that show the spread of the virus in the country on a local basis, Castex said vigilance regarding potential new, local clusters would be crucial after May 11th.

“As soon as the number of positive patients becomes abnormally high, we will need to – also in a localised manner – give ourselves the means to act immediately,” he said.

READ ALSO France lockdown: What is the difference between a red and green département

“We will have a (re-confinement) plan ready, just in case,” he said.
 
“It's not our objective (to re-confine the country).”
 
“If we wish to avoid it, one of the best ways is to respect the key rules, take the necessary health precautions, wash hands, wear a mask in certain situation, get tested as soon as you show the slightest symptom.”

 

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LIVING IN FRANCE

Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

From tax hikes to the price of food, air conditioning and the unexpected things that lurk beneath the streets of Paris, here are 6 essential articles for life in France.

Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

As the inhabitants of Paris, one of Europe’s most densely populated cities, walk along the Champs-Elysées or Rue de Rivoli, they might be entirely unaware of the extensive underground world that exists below their feet.

Paris has a huge network of underground spaces that hide some very unexpected things (as well as the entirely prosaci Metro).

Skulls, beer and a ‘cathedral’: Discover the secrets of underground Paris

From cheese and garlic to berets and sex, taxes and striking, France is heavily loaded with cultural stereotypes – and most of them are only partly accurate.

This is us, busting more myths.

Myth-busting: Are these 12 clichés about France actually true?

France warned that companies might have to reduce energy this winter as Russian continues to reduce its gas supplies to Europe.

The government has already begun work on an energy-saving plan, with more measures to come in September.

And it’s not the only country thinking along these lines – from limits to heating and air conditioning to turning off the lights and taking off ties, here’s how countries around Europe are cutting their energy usage.

Air-con, lights and ties: How countries around Europe hope to avoid blackouts this winter

Although householders in France are relatively fortunate when it comes to rising bills, there is one notable exception.

Towns and villages across France have been raising property tax rates for second-home owners – with many areas voting for the maximum 60 percent increase.

Tax hikes of up to 60% for French second home owners

As we’ve stumbled onto money matters, let’s consider the cost of living. France has many temptations to woo visitors and foreign residents: its scenery, history, the lifestyle, the food and the drink.

While some things here are more expensive than elsewhere – we’re looking at you, second-hand car dealers – and the taxes are notoriously high, what about the cost of groceries and wine? How do they compare? We do something that looks a lot like crunching the numbers…

How expensive is food and drink in France?

But, enough of all that seriousness. It’s silly season, after all. Prominent French scientist Etienne Klein has had to apologise for claiming this was the latest astonishing picture taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, when it was – in fact …

French astronomer apologises for ‘stellar’ photo that was really . . . chorizo

Some people take things far too seriously.

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