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France wants to extend state of health emergency

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The French government wants to extend by two months the country’s state of health emergency due to the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

The Council of Ministers is currently considering the bill to extend the health emergency from 24 May. The Senate is scheduled to examine it on Monday, before sending it to the National Assembly for final adoption during the week.

The text specifies that people can be subject to quarantine and isolation “upon arrival on national territory” to prevent the spread of the virus.

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Meanwhile, there is a lot uncertainty around the conditions of the deconfinement planned for 11 May.

A provisional map classifying France’s regions in green, red or orange according to the state of the epidemic and the reanimation services was corrected earlier because of counting errors, which had led to complaints by local officials.

Another area of concern is the reopening of schools. The “majority of nursery and primary schools” will open on 11 May, Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer told Le Figaro, with a maximum of 15 children per class. However, some members of local councils are totally against this.

In Paris, at least initially, schools will only reopen “for a priority group” (such as children of certain professions and school dropouts), the deputy mayor in charge of education told AFP.

To receive pupils, schools will have to respect a strict health protocol, the broad outlines of which were unveiled on Thursday and included repeated hand washing, banned games, disinfection of equipment, and directions marked on the ground.

Another source of tension in anticipation of 11 May is the sale of face masks, as wearing them will be compulsory on public transport.

France is the fifth-most affected country in Europe according to the WHO, counting 128,121 confimed cases and 24,342 deaths as of Friday. Meanwhile, Belgium has counted 49,517 confirmed cases and 7,765 deaths as of Saturday.

The Brussels Times