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

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
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 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.

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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.

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“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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