Emmanuel Macron to unveil phased plan to ease France's COVID-19 restrictions
Paris/Xinhua: French President Emmanuel Macron will unveil a "progressive and phased" plan to relax the country's coronavirus rules on Friday, Prime Minister Jean Castex said here on Wednesday.
Macron is due to announce the "prospect of a gradual return to a more normal life" as "the epidemic situation continues to improve at a steady pace," Castex told journalists.
In France, the average weekly number of daily cases has fallen from 38,000 to 26,200, and the virus reproduction rate (R0) stands at 0.89, he said.
"That means the circulation of the virus remains at a high level, but we are on a real downward trend even though it is slower than in November (during the second confinement phase) and its impact on the hospitalization rate, notably on the number of people in intensive care, is limited," the prime minister said.
On Tuesday, the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in France was slightly above 5.53 million, with 103,603 deaths.
After the emergence of more infectious virus variants fueled the infections in France, Macron ordered a third national lockdown at the end of March. All shops not selling basic foods were closed. Intra-region travel was banned. Restaurants, bars, cinemas and theatres have been closed since the end of last October.
On a visit to a school near Paris on Monday, Macron said that bar and restaurant terraces may reopen nationwide by mid-May. Indoor venues are expected to reopen in early June in the country's low-risk regions.