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.

EMMANUEL MACRON FRANCE LOCKDOWN NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 4, 2020 - 4:09pm

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

April 4, 2020 - 4:09pm

The Department of Health reports 76 more local cases of the coronavirus disease 2019, bringing the official tally to 3,094 from the previous count of 3,018.

April 3, 2020 - 12:58pm

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. assures the public that they will shoulder the full cost of treatment for all COVID-19 patients until April 14, 2020.

"The reason for this accommodation window is due to the novelty and the wide range of severity of the disease in the country for which no existing case rate or package based on accepted protocols has yet been established," it says in a statement.

Philhealth says they will issue a new set of guidelines after the final protocol is established.

April 3, 2020 - 10:22am

The UN General Assembly has approved a resolution calling for "international cooperation" and "multilateralism" in the fight against COVID-19, in the first text to come out of the international body since the pandemic's outbreak.

The resolution, which was approved by consensus, also stresses "the need for full respect for human rights" and that "there is no place for any form of discrimination, racism and xenophobia in the response to the pandemic." — AFP

April 3, 2020 - 8:04am

The cruise ship Zaandam, which has dozens of ill passengers on board and was not allowed to dock in several South American countries, arrivsd Thursday in port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The liner was finally cleared for docking after long negotiations between Holland America Line, local and state officials, and the US Coast Guard, to ensure the safe disembarkation of the healthy — and the sick. — AFP

April 2, 2020 - 5:02pm

The Department of Health confirms 11 COVID-19 patients have died in the Philippines, raising the total number of fatalities to 107.

The Philippines also recorded 322 new coronavirus cases, bringing the national total to 2,633.

As of Thursday afternoon, one additional patient recovered from the deadly virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 51.

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