France unveils gradual easing of nationwide coronavirus lockdown

Xinhua
French people will enjoy more freedom in outdoor exercises starting Saturday, and the nationwide coronavirus lockdown could be lifted on December 15 if conditions are met.
Xinhua
France unveils gradual easing of nationwide coronavirus lockdown
AFP

Health workers conduct antigen rapid tests for Covid-19 at a screening test facility set up in a street of Paris on November 23, 2020.

French people will enjoy more freedom in outdoor exercises starting Saturday, and the nationwide coronavirus lockdown could be lifted on December 15 if health conditions are met, President Emmanuel Macron announced Tuesday in a TV address.

"A new page will open on Saturday, November 28," said Macron. Starting Saturday, outdoor exercises will be allowed for up to three hours a day, and people can go up to 20 km from their homes. Currently, people can only go out for exercise for one hour and in a radius of 1 km.

Starting Saturday, non-essential shops will also be allowed to reopen until 9 pm and under strict health conditions, Macron said.

If the objectives of current restrictive measures are reached, the nationwide coronavirus lockdown will be further lifted on December 15, with cinemas, theaters and museums allowed to reopen under strict health protocols, he said.

While France could lift the nationwide coronavirus lockdown on December 15, a 9pm to 7am curfew will apply to the whole country, said the president. Restaurants and sports halls will be able to reopen on January 20, he added.

"We must continue our efforts," Macron said, urging people to limit "unnecessary travel" as much as possible.

Since September, coronavirus infections in France had spiraled to levels much higher than in the first wave of the pandemic, dragging the country into its second nationwide lockdown on October 30.

France reported 9,155 new infections in a 24-hour span, taking the total number of cases to 2,153,815. With 458 new deaths, the accumulative fatalities reached 50,237 since the start of the pandemic.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.

According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of November 12, there were 212 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 48 of them were in clinical trials.


Special Reports
Top