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.
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.