French Health Minister Oliver Veran has warned that the country can’t set a date for the end of the national lockdown right now, but reassured the public the country was getting coronavirus under control.
Veran told French broadcaster BFM TV that “the pandemic is decreasing,” but quickly added that “it remains at a high level.” The French health minister cited the national lockdown as having successfully helped contain the spread of the virus, which is circulating less rapidly than last month.
The news comes after the Ministry of Health reported that the number of admissions to intensive care had dropped to its lowest level in three weeks on Sunday, with only 270 new admissions over the previous 24 hours.
However, Veran defended his cautious approach to the virus by explaining that there were now more patients in hospital than during the first wave of the epidemic even though there were “a little” fewer of these in intensive care.
Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher urged caution on Monday, as shops hope to open in time for the holiday season, saying that “letting some businesses reopen on December 1 would be ideal but we’re not there yet.”
On October 30, France imposed countrywide restrictions, initially for a one-month period, requiring people to stay at home unless they need to travel for work, to buy essential goods, for a medical appointment, for exercise or if it’s for an essential family reason, such as caring for a vulnerable person.
Daily coronavirus cases hit a high of 86,852 new cases on November 7 and have been in decline ever since, with the country only recording 9,406 cases on Monday. As of November 16, France has confirmed 1,945,468 cases and 44,215 deaths from the virus.
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