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Deconfinement in France: Masks, tests and shops

French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe presented the deconfinement plan for May 11 onwards in France in the French Parliament this afternoon. Here are key points on masks, tests, and shops:

- From May 11, he has promised there will be enough masks available for the general public to buy in shops and pharmacies. He said they are receiving nearly 100 million masks a week and will be receiving 20 million washable masks for the public from the beginning of May.

- The government will pay 50% of the costs of masks for the public bought by local authorities.

- From April 30 an e-platform will be created by La Poste where people will be able to order masks (this has been reported to be for businesses only).

- Masks will be obligatory on public transport and for school pupils in collèges.

- The government says they will be able to carry out 700,000 tests a week from May 11.

This number has been chosen because the Covid-19 Scientific Advisory body believes there will be between 1,000 and 3,000 new cases per week from May 11, with each new case having had between 20 and 25 contacts they might have infected and who would also have to be tested. That would mean 525,000 tests a week with 700,000 covering that need.

- These tests will be 100% reimbursed by the French social security system.

- As soon as someone is tested positive they will have to be isolated. They can choose between their home or a hotel requisitioned for the purpose. In each department a brigade will be formed of people who will seek out those who have been in contact with the person tested positive. He said this was to “break the chain of transmission” and that isolation was not a punishment.

- Shops which have been closed during the confinement period because they have not been regarded as essential will be able to open after May 11.

- Shops will have to comply with strict measures to ensure that minimum distances are respected. Wearing masks will be recommended for staff and customers. A shopkeeper may make entry conditional on the wearing of a mask.

- Markets will be allowed unless mayors decide they cannot be opened safely.

- The decision on cafes and restaurants will be made at the end of May, to see whether they can open in the second de-confinement period starting after June 2.

- Beaches will remain closed, as well as theatres, cinemas, and large museums, until June at the earliest.

Read more:

Deconfinement in France: schools and transport plan

Deconfinement in France will be in stages from May 11

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