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France intends to lift restrictions

France to start lifting restrictions from 3 May

France to start lifting restrictions from 3 May

If Covid-19 rates continue to decline

France intends to lift restrictions as early as 3 May, believing that the regular number of Covid-19 cases, which has averaged 33,000 infections a day over the past week, will quickly begin to decline. This comes as President Emmanuel Macron presided over a weekly meeting of top ministers on Wednesday, 21 April 2021, to assess the government's efforts to tackle the Covid crisis and address the relaxation of existing restrictions.

The possibility of lifting the country's third lockdown represents the government's belief that the number of regular Covid cases will drop to about 20,000 within a month.

On Tuesday, public health officials confirmed 43,098 new cases of the virus and 375 deaths in 24 hours, with hospitals still under pressure.

If the results fail to change, the government has announced a schedule to gradually reopen schools, businesses, and travel beginning early next month:

  • Kindergarten and primary school students may return on Monday, 26 April and high school students on 3 May.
  • The 10-kilometer travel restriction will be lifted, and inter-regional travel will be allowed beginning on 3 May.
  • Restaurants can serve customers seated in open-air areas beginning in mid-May, with a restricted capacity.
  • Cinemas, theatres, and museums are scheduled to reopen with reduced capacity in mid-May.
  • Non-food businesses will also reopen in mid-May.

The plan to move the curfew from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. has not yet been debated.

The goal is to vaccinate 20 million people with at least one dose

At a press conference on Wednesday, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said that the "first encouraging signs" of the last three weeks of restrictions were being felt, but that the "epidemic is taking more time than last November to slow down due to the presence of variants."

Macron also expects France to achieve its goal of vaccinating 20 million people with at least one dose by mid-May, up from the current 13 million. A quarter of the adult population has received at least one injection so far.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour announced that approximately 400,000 workers over the age of 55 would now be eligible for priority vaccination beginning on 24 April.

Over 20 occupations, including public transportation drivers, cleaning and security staff, supermarket and food processing employees, had been added to the priority list. Employees in the education sector have been eligible for priority vaccination since 17 April.

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