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Deconfinement in France will be in stages from May 11

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced the government’s plan for deconfinement from May 11 to Parliament this afternoon.

He spoke for an hour and outlined a number of key areas on transport, masks, tests, travel, and the possibility of a change of plan if the evolution of the Covid-19 virus does not follow its expected path.

This first de-confinement period will last from May 11 – June 2. "We have to learn to live with the virus", the Prime Minister said. 

"Confinement is a useful tool but it cannot last too long. However the risk of a second wave of the virus that would tire hospital employees and impose re-confinement is a serious risk."

The strategy is to "protect, test, and isolate".

The main points of the Prime Minister's speech are:

- There will be local differences. Departments will be labelled either green or red depending on the degree to which it is judged that the virus is active, the capacity of hospitals to receive patients and the readiness of the local system to administer tests for the virus. These will be studied on May 7. Red departments will have stricter de-confinement measures than green departments.

- From May 11, confinement forms will no longer be necessary for travelling close to home but journeys of over 100 kilometres will only be authorised for "urgent family or for professional reasons".

- The wearing of masks will be compulsory on public transport. Mr Philippe promised there will be enough masks available for the public from May 11.

- Primary and maternelle classes will reopen gradually from May 11. From May 18, collège pupils, starting with those in sixième (age 11) and cinquième (age 12) will start to go back.

The PM said collèges would only open in departments with a very low virus circulation. Pupils in collège will have to wear masks. No decision will be taken on lycées until the end of May.

- On work he said that those who can do so should continue to work at home and for others it would be recommended that staggered hours be introduced.

- Shops will be able to open other than bars and restaurants - which may be able to open after June 2. A review to be taken end of May into cafes and restaurants.

- 700,000 tests will be made every week from May 11 and any person who is tested positive will have to go into isolation. People who have been in contact with the infected person will be tested and isolated if necessary.

- Individual sport will be allowed and people will be able to go further than the present one kilometre from their home. But no collective, indoor or contact sports will be allowed.

- Parks will only be opened in towns where there is a low circulation of the virus.

- Beaches will remain closed until at least June 1.

- Gatherings must be limited to 10 people. No religious ceremonies will be possible until June 2. 

Related stories:

Deconfinement in France: schools and transport plan

Deconfinement in France: Masks, tests and shops

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