People in France concerned about govt plan to ease restrictions

Paris, April 23 (IANS) People in France were concerned about the government’s plan to ease the ongoing restrictions from May 11 as the coronavirus pandemic situation presented some encouraging signs after five weeks of lockdown, polls showed.

As of Wednesday, 29,741 people tested positive for the coronavirus were hospitalized, down by 365 in the last 24 hours, consolidating a one-week slowdown, reports Xinhua news agency.

The number of patients who need intensive care has fallen for the 14th consecutive day.

France now accounts for a total of 157,135 cases, with 21,340 deaths.

An Elabe survey released on Wednesday found that 66 per cent of 1,000 respondents were concerned about the deconfinement, 34 per cent were upbeat about post-lockdown life.

On school reopening, 63 pe rcent thought that the government had not well prepared the back-to-school-and-work measures.

In another poll, conducted by Harris Interactive after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presented the main pillars of a deconfinement plan on Sunday, a large majority of people were in favour of remote work even after the end of the confinement, while 60 per cent of the interviewed found school reopening a bad decision.

The French government is working on a plan to wind down confinement measures, enforced in mid-March and extended twice, with the aim to both avoid a resurgence of the virus and ensure a gradual return to normal life.

“We are preparing a second stage, of which we do not know how long it will last,” President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday.

“The ice is thin and we do not want to make steps backwards … So we must not put into question this effort by a too hasty return or a desire to say ‘it’s all behind us’,” he added.

Under the government’s plan, cafes, restaurants, shops, cinemas and theatres would remain closed while festivals would be postponed to mid-July.

Meanwhile, schools would be reopened in several stages and with much smaller classes.

But questions over protective equipment and hygiene protocol to be implemented in education establishments remained unanswered, igniting concerns and unions critics.




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