French PM Philippe says tightened coronavirus lockdown could last weeks

French PM Philippe says tightened coronavirus lockdown could last weeks

In another hugely unusual move, France will on Wednesday use a specially set-up TGV high speed train to evacuate 30 coronavirus patients from the east to other parts of France, Health Minister Olivier Veran announced.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on television on Monday that the lockdown, which is supposed to end on March 31, could last several more weeks.

"Many French people would like things to be like they were before, in normal times". Some 100,000 police officers are deployed to enforce the movement restriction.

He also said he had made a decision to launch an army operation to help the population with health and logistics. Open-air markets ought to shut, he added.

But government officials have been concerned by images of busy markets especially in Paris packed with shoppers and joggers pounding down some streets in certain areas, as if life was carrying on as normal.

President Emmanuel Macron told religious authorities on Monday he was against the idea of imposing a total lockdown in France to combat the coronavirus outbreak, a source close to one of the participants said.

"We do not want to introduce a national curfew". A number of are already in place, together with in Good on the Mediterranean coast. The anti-malaria drug, he said, may be used in severe cases of Covid-19, under strict medical surveillance and on the advice of a group of doctors.

He also alluded to the lockdown continuing for "several more weeks".

About 56% of respondents said the government could not manage the crisis response, while 87% were concerned about further spread.

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