Confinement in France likely to be extended again - PM

Home confinement in France is likely to be extended after the current deadline of April 15, the prime minister said in a television interview tonight.

In answer to a question on TF1 about how deconfinement will take place, Edouard Philippe said: “I understand peoples’ impatience but deconfinement is not going to happen tomorrow morning. Home confinement is the rule today and it is the case until at least April 15 - and probably longer.

He added: “There are a lot of essential elements governing the choices we are going to make and we do not yet know all the answers."

Mr Philippe said factors which would influence a decision to end confinement include the existence or not of viable treatments against Covid-19 and the country’s capacity to carry out serological tests (tests allowing the presence of antibodies to be detected proving the virus has passed through the body and therefore the immunity of the person tested).

"I have many questions, like all my fellow citizens, and I don't have all the answers," he added.

The prime minister stressed that the formal ban on travel must be restricted despite the imminent start of the school holidays.

 "There must be no departures during the holidays. There will be controls and sanctions," he said. “The rules are there to protect us all."

The epidemic wave is still growing in France, with 471 more deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 4,503 deaths in hospitals. The number of patients in intensive care is 6,399 as of tonight (April 2).

The death toll quoted does not include numbers from retirement homes. The provisional figure for this, announced for the first time tonight by France's director general of health Jérôme Salomon, is 884 virus-related deaths in retirement homes since the beginning of the health crisis in late January.

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