Millions of French people are set to cautiously emerge from one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns on Monday, once more able to engage in everyday activities that have become unexpectedly precious, such as visiting shops and getting their hair cut.
France, whose official death toll is the world’s fifth highest, had enforced an eight-week lockdown, since March 17, to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, with residents only allowed out for essential shopping, work and a bit of exercise.
Shops and hair salons can now reopen, while people can venture out without a government-mandated form, except for trips of more than 100 km (62 miles), which are only allowed for professional reasons, funerals or caring for the sick.
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President Emmanuel Macron’s government decided to lift the lockdown after the number of patients in intensive care — a key measure of hospitals’ ability to cope with the epidemic — fell to less than half the peak of over 7,000 seen in early April.
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1:43Coronavirus: Kids and parents wanting to get back to popular playsites
Coronavirus: Kids and parents wanting to get back to popular playsites
Another encouraging indicator has been a prolonged decline in the number of daily deaths from coronavirus infections,