Polls: French People Concerned About Gov’t Plan to Ease Restrictions

French people are concerned about the government’s plan to ease movement restrictions from May 11 as the coronavirus epidemic situation presented some encouraging signs after five weeks of lockdown, polls released on Wednesday showed.

An Elabe survey found that 66 percent of 1,000 respondents were concerned about the deconfinement, 34 percent were upbeat about post-lockdown life. On school reopening, 63 percent thought that the government had not well prepared the back-to-school-and-work measures, Xinhua reported.

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 favor of remote work even after the end of the confinement, while 60 percent 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,” stated President Emmanuel Macron earlier in the day during a visit to north-western France.

“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.

The number of people who have died from the coronavirus in France has climbed to 21,340, after a one-day increase of 544, higher than Tuesday’s 531, Director-General of Health Jerome Salomon announced on Wednesday. 29,741 people tested positive for the coronavirus were hospitalized, down by 365 in the last 24 hours, consolidating one-week slowdown. Among other encouraging signs, the number of patients who need intensive care has fallen for the 14th consecutive day, to 5,218, down by 215.

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