French’s President Macron extends coronavirus lockdown until May 11

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French President Emmanuel Macron announced the extension of France’s strict lockdown until May 11, during his third televised address to the nation on the virus crisis from the Elysee palace, Monday April 13.

France has been under lockdown since March 17. The country has reported more than 136,700 COVID-19 cases and nearly 15,000 fatalities.

Macron said he sees “hopeful signs” as the spreading of the virus in the country appears to be stabilizing. But he urged the French to keep respecting strict confinement rules for the moment.

Starting May 11, schools will reopen “progressively,” he said. Restaurants, cafes, hotels, cinemas, museums and concert halls will remain closed and no big gatherings will be allowed until mid-July, he added.

Macron acknowledged “failures and deficiencies” in a reference to the lack of masks and other equipment.

As a response to the criticism that the country has not conducted enough coronavirus tests, he promised that by May 11, all those who have symptoms will be able to get tested.

Other European countries, including Denmark, Austria and the Czech Republic, are starting to lift the tight restrictions they imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The countries say their quick actions in locking down earlier than their neighbors give them the opportunity to relax their rules.

(VOA/AP)

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