Scientific advisers: 6 weeks of lockdown needed

It is essential that home confinement in France is extended and the total period of it should last for at least six weeks. This is the opinion of the official scientific committee advising the government about Covid-19 which has been made public tonight.

The committee has said the evolution of the virus cannot be precisely anticipated and so it is impossible to propose an end date for confinement but that confinement is likely to need to last for at least six weeks from implementation (March 17), France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran announced. He stressed that is was an estimation.

This would mean until at least April 28.

It is important to note that the opinion of the scientific committee remains advisory. No decision has yet been made by the government on an extension of the confinement period.

Mr Véran said: “We need the contamination curve to drop. We are doing this to protect the population. As long as it doesn't go down, we have no justification for reducing the confinement measures.”

Commenting about the end of the confinement period the health minister referred to several possibilities, including a general or regional staged end depending on how the epidemic evolves.

The number of deaths in hospitals from the virus has now reached 1,100 - 240 of which have died in the last 24 hours.

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