PARIS — France’s strict confinement measures meant to reduce the spread of coronavirus could last longer than the 15-day lockdown originally announced, according to Health Minister Olivier Véran.
“As long as [the lockdown] will be necessary, it will last,” Véran told reporters Tuesday, adding that no decision had been officially taken yet to extend it. “We’ll only be able to stop confinement when the epidemic curve allows it.”
The health minister’s comments come after the country’s Council of Scientists advisory group formally recommended a six-week lockdown. The group of 11 experts has been working closely with President Emmanuel Macron and his ministers to help shape policies since the beginning of the crisis.
Macron announced a nationwide lockdown for at least 15 days last week in an effort to step up the country’s fight against the virus.
On Monday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that stricter confinement rules would be necessary and would go into effect on Tuesday to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The country had reported more than 22,300 cases as of Tuesday, with 1,100 deaths. The Paris region and the eastern region of Alsace are the most impacted. More than 10,000 people are hospitalized, and 2,516 are in intensive care.