A picture shows the facade of the Health and Solidarity Ministry in Paris, at night on March 24, 2020, on the eight day of a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in France.
AFP/Ludovic Marin
French coronavirus lockdown should last 'at least six weeks': government advisors
(Agence France-Presse) - March 25, 2020 - 8:15am

PARIS, France — The lockdown imposed last week in France to battle the coronavirus should last at least six weeks in total, a committee of scientific experts advising the government on the outbreak said on Tuesday.

The warning on the potential length of the lockdown came as the coronavirus killed another 240 people in France, bringing the death toll in the country from the pandemic to 1,100.

"The confinement will likely last at least six weeks from the moment it was put in place (on March 17)," said the scientific council, adding it was "indispensable" to extend the measure from its initial duration of two weeks.

The council of doctors and sociologists was created by the health ministry to advise President Emmanuel Macron and the government on the best way to combat the coronavirus.

The lockdown, already in place for a week nationwide, orders all in France to stay inside except for essential trips outside such as shopping.

Speaking after talks with the experts at the Elysee Palace, Health Minister Olivier Veran said that the figure of six weeks was an "estimation" and no one knew at this stage how long the confinement would last.

"They said that we need to be prepared that the confinement will last more than two weeks and that maybe it could be even more like five or six weeks," he said.

"It (the lockdown) will last as long as it needs to," he added.

The experts said that the lockdown was currently the "sole strategy that is realistic in operational terms," adding that other strategies like mass testing or isolating all those who may have the virus were not realisable on a national scale.

It said three weeks of lockdown would be needed before an estimation of its impact can be made.

Top French health official Jerome Salomon told reporters that 22,300 people had been registered as testing positive for the virus in France, with a total of 10,176 hospitalised of whom 2,516 people are in intensive care. 

Officials believe that the published number of those infected largely underestimates the real figure, as only those showing severe symptoms are usually tested.

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 die in old people's homes.

He said that the hospital deaths were only a part of the total toll and vowed to give data on mortality in old people's homes in the next few days.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: July 5, 2020 - 9:30am

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

July 5, 2020 - 9:30am

The United States notched more than 43,000 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, a tally by Johns Hopkins University showed Saturday, amid a surge of infections around the country.

The Baltimore-based university's tracker showed 43,742 more cases as of 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Sunday), bringing the country's total number of cases since the pandemic began to 2,836,764.

The university also recorded a further 252 fatalities, bringing the total death toll to 129,657. — AFP

July 4, 2020 - 5:00pm

The Department of Health reports 1,494 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the Philippines to 41,830. 

There are 380 new recoveries and 10 new deaths.

July 4, 2020 - 9:30am

A tally by Johns Hopkins University shows the US notched 57,683 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours Friday, the third consecutive day with record numbers of new infections.

The Baltimore-based university's tracker showed the total number of cases since the pandemic reached the US at 2,793,022 as of 8:30 pm (0030 Saturday GMT).

The university also records a further 728 fatalities, bringing the total US death toll to 129,405. — AFP

July 3, 2020 - 8:42pm

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 521,384 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Friday. 

At least 10,887,320 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 5,585,100 are now considered recovered. — AFP

July 3, 2020 - 5:13pm

The Department of Health says there are 1,531 additional cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing the total number of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines to 40,336.

400 patients have recovered while six died from the deadly virus.

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