Coronavirus: France to extend emergency by two months

Anyone entering the country will have to quarantine for two weeks

A statue wears a mask to encourage people to protect themselves against the spread of the coronavirus along the Trocadero square close to the Eiffel Tower Saturday, May 2, 2020, in Paris. France continues to be under an extended stay-at-home order until May 11 in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Rafael Yahgobzadeh)

France will extend a health emergency imposed to fight the coronavirus by two months with anybody entering the country having to remain quarantined for two weeks.

While the government has announced the gradual lifting of some lockdown measures from May 11, including the re-opening of primary schools, Health Minister Olivier Veran warned that breaking from the health emergency risked a resurgence of the outbreak.

Anyone arriving from abroad and infected with the virus would be obliged by law to be quarantined, he said. Those developing symptoms while in isolation would also need to go into self-isolation.

epa08398072 A police officer applauds in front of a building decorated with French flags and support messages for health employees as the neighbors applaud from their windows to support French medical staff amid the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in Saint Mande, near Paris, France, 02 May 2020. During the lockdown, people in many European cities are taking at least a minute each night to applaud in gratitude for health workers and police.  EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

Once approved by parliament, the emergency period will last until July 24 and allows the government to restrict freedom of movement. Fuller details of the measures are expected in the coming days.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said: "We are going to have to live with the virus for a while.

"Learning to live with the virus, that's what's at stake in the coming months."

The new proposals also cover an "information system" for those have the virus and their entourage that would operate for up to a year.

On May 11, people in France will be allowed to leave their homes without the current obligation to carry a written justification for the movements.

They will have to wear protection masks when using public transport.

Many shops will also reopen and remote-working staff will be able to return to offices as France battles the economic impact of the coronavirus that has already pushed the country into recession.

Meanwhile, the number of daily deaths in France from the coronavirus fell to 166, the health ministry said Saturday, the lowest number in more than five weeks.

This takes the total number of reported COVID-19 deaths in France since March 1 to 24,760, the fourth highest in Europe.

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