France Plots a Path Out of Lockdown

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday outlined plans for the country’s gradual reopening, planning a way out of the labyrinth of existing restrictions and fueling hopes that life will finally return to normal after waves of infections that forced the country to undergo three national bans could.

Mr Macron said schools would reopen next week, followed by the return of museums, cinemas, shops and outdoor services in cafes on May 19. The 7 p.m. curfew will be postponed to 9 p.m., he told French newspapers.

“We need to restore our French way of life while remaining prudent and responsible: our sociability, our culture, our sport,” Macron said, but added that the reopening could be delayed in some regions if cases arise.

Cafes and restaurants are allowed to serve guests in the house from the second week of June, and the gyms are then closed under certain conditions, such as: B. reopened to a limited number of people. The night curfew and most meeting restrictions will be lifted on June 30th.

Mr Macron’s announcement came as the coronavirus situation appears to be improving in France. The average number of new daily cases has dropped from 35,000 in the past two weeks to 27,000, and the vaccination campaign is finally picking up pace after months of hurdles.

The decision to gradually reopen was also a way of responding to the deep feeling of tiredness and frustration that has gained a foothold in France in an endless cycle of coronavirus restrictions, cities like Paris into deep darkness like cafes, restaurants and cultural institutions – precisely the heart of the capital – have been closed since autumn.

Europe has seen a sharp drop in coronavirus cases after two months of increasing infections, and other governments are rolling back restrictions. The UK, which led the vaccine rollout in the region, has allowed pubs, bars and restaurants to reopen, and has gradually removed the limits of the size of social gatherings. Switzerland took similar measures in mid-April, and Italy started relaxing some rules this week.

However, the top European official at the World Health Organization warned on Thursday that infection rates in the region remained high. Official Hans Kluge said public health controls and individual measures such as wearing masks would determine whether cases would continue to decline. Half of all cases reported in Europe have occurred since January, said Dr. Kluge, when the continent battled the rapid spread of B.1.1.7, the more infectious variant of the virus first identified in the UK.

“The virus still has the potential to be devastating,” said Dr. Smart. “It is very important to realize that the situation in India can happen anywhere.”

B.1.617, the currently common variant in India, has been found in 10 countries in Europe, according to Ihor Perehinets, a senior official on the WHO Emergency Program for Europe. There was no evidence that Covid-19 vaccines were not effective against this variant, Oleg Benes, a WHO vaccine specialist for Europe, told reporters.