Issued on: 22/04/2020 – 19:34Modified: 22/04/2020 – 19:34
France on Wednesday reported 544 deaths from Covid-19 in 24 hours, as the number of people in hospital and intensive care continued to decline.
The daily tally brought France's total Covid-19 death toll to 21,340, top health official Jérôme Salomon told reporters.
On Monday, France became the fourth country after Italy, Spain and the USA to surpass the 20,000-fatality mark.
Prime Minister Édouard Philippe told a news conference Sunday that the gradual exit from lockdown in May, due to start with the reopening of schools, would not allow people to move around or interact as before, especially without any vaccine against the virus.
"It won't be a return to normal life," Philippe said, adding that as France introduces more testing, people with coronavirus would have to remain isolated at home or in hotels laid on by the government.
Lockdown enforcement to continue in suburbs
Five weeks into Frances lockdown, tensions over heavy-handed enforcement have boiled over in some of the capitals working-class suburbs.
Speaking on Wednesday, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said French police will not shy away from enforcing a coronavirus lockdown in the banlieues (suburbs). His statement came even as the motorcyclist whose run-in with officers sparked the clashes has appealed for calm.
Stringent restrictions on public movement ordered by President Emmanuel Macron to tackle the epidemic have exacerbated deep-seated social tensions in the deprived, low-income neighbourhoods that ring the capital.