Coronavirus France: Lockdown is 'likely' to last SIX WEEKS

Coronavirus France: Lockdown is 'likely' to last SIX WEEKS

Coronavirus France: Lockdown is 'likely' to last SIX WEEKS

Several are already in place, including in Nice on the Mediterranean coast.

Philippe said there will be no enforced nationwide curfew but the measure would be applied when deemed important. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by telephone with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Monday, after Saudi Arabia, which now presides over the G20, last week called for a "virtual" summit.

The French government implemented lockdown last Tuesday, asking citizens to stay at home, leaving only for essential activities such as buying food or exercising.

Salomon also emphasised that the death toll of 1,100 includes only those recorded to have died of the coronavirus in hospitals and not those who pass away in old people's homes.

The scientific council added that it was "indispensable" to extend the measure from its initial duration of two weeks, having first been imposed last Tuesday.

Health Minister Olivier Veran told a briefing he could not determine at this stage when the lockdown would end.

"There will be no total lockdown", a source close to France's Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, who took part in the meeting at the Elysee palace, told Reuters.

He also said the chloroquine malaria drug would not be marketed for mass use against coronavirus until further testing was done.

The head of the public health service Jérôme Salomon added later that France would soon be able to carry out 10,000 tests a day.

The news comes after French health authorities confirmed an additional 231 deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the state's total to 1,331.

People in France do not seem to understand "how serious this pandemic is", he lamented.

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