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France to extend coronavirus lockdown beyond April 15

France to extend coronavirus lockdown beyond April 15
Coronavirus lockdown measures in France, already in place for more than three weeks, will be extended further, President Emmanuel Macron’s office said. The country has filed over 110,000 confirmed cases and 10,800 deaths.

The lockdown will be extended beyond the current deadline of April 15, the French presidential palace announced on Wednesday. The timeframe for the extension was not immediately clear and is likely to be announced by Macron, who will address the nation on the epidemic situation Monday.

Earlier in the day, France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the lockdown measures have proven effective, but added that “the time to unwind the lockdown has not come.”

“The [Covid-19] expansion is slowing so much that we might soon reach a flattening of the curve ... and that’s most certainly due to the lockdown’s effect,” Philippe told the parliament.

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France’s coronavirus outbreak does appear to be entering a positive trend. On Wednesday, the number of people who died from Covid-19 in French hospitals grew ‘only’ by 8 percent.

Still, the figure might be incomplete as the authorities failed to secure data from nursing homes due to “technical problems.” People who died in such institutions account for more than 30 percent of the nation’s almost 11,000 fatalities.

While the lockdown measures apparently helped to slow down the spread of the disease, the battle against the outbreak has already sent France into a worst-in-decades recession. The French economy shrank around 6 percent in the first quarter of this year, showing its worst performance since 1945.

Despite the downturn, the country’s financial system remains “solid,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said earlier in the day, and one should not be too concerned about its stability.

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France is among the top 5 world countries worst affected by the pandemic, after the US, Spain, Italy and Germany. The coronavirus outbreak has already caused more than 87,000 deaths worldwide, with nearly 1.5 million recorded cases.

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