AGENCIES, Paris: One of the hardest coronavirus hit countries in Europe, France has announced that it has decided to extend its nationwide lockdown for another month in a bid to halt the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, Spain started to ease lockdown orders and Austria prepared to reopen some shops. France did not follow compatriots and instead extended a lockdown in place since March 17 until May 11, after which schools and businesses are set to gradually reopen.
President Emmanuel Macron in a televised address said the epidemic was “beginning to steady… (and) hope is returning”.
“May 11 will be the start of a new phase. It will be progressive and the rules can be adapted according to our results,” Macron said.
France reported a slight increase in hospital deaths Monday — though still below its record numbers of last week — and a slight dip in intensive care patients for a fifth day running.
The World Health Organization has lifting curbs too soon could unleash a second wave of cases and warned that only a vaccine would fully halt the spread of COVID-19.