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Home confinement in France extended to April 15

The Covid-19 home confinement period will be extended for "at least two weeks" beyond the initial two-week period, the French prime minister has announced this afternoon.

The obligation to stay at home, with limited exceptions, started at noon on Tuesday March 17 and was scheduled to last until Tuesday March 31 at least and until further notice. 

Now Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has confirmed it will definitely be extended and will not end before Wednesday April 15.

"It is clear that we are only at the beginning of the wave of this epidemic," he said specifying that the same rules, such as needing a form to go out of the house, will continue to apply.

He said the period could be extended further again if the health situation makes it necessary.

On Tuesday, the official scientific committee advising the government said an extension to the confinement period was essential and pleaded for a period of six full weeks from its implementation i.e. until Tuesday April 28.

A new extension could be decided "if and only if the health situation requires it," said Mr Philippe.

"Those who do not respect the rules of confinement are few in number and will be severely punished, because the health of everyone is at stake, especially the most fragile among us," the prime minister added while praising citizens "for their civic-mindedness, patience and solidarity" during this period.

He was speaking after a meeting of the Conseil des ministres (cabinet) and is due to address the nation again alongside the health minister tomorrow.

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