Paris: The head of the French Scientific Advisory Board said in France on Friday that the COVID-19 pandemic is now “under control” because the country was carefully rid of its predicament in the blockade imposed in March.
“We can reasonably say the virus is currently under control,” Jean-Francois Delfraissy told France Inter radio.
“The virus is still circulating, in certain regions in particular… but it is circulating slowly,” he added.
Immunologist Delfraissy and his colleagues were appointed as members of the coronavirus advisory group because the authorities tried to contain the epidemic that killed more than 29,000 people in France.
The number of deaths per day has declined, and the Ministry of Health reported on Friday that only 46 people died and there were 1,094 intensive care patients-well below the peak of more than 7,000 serious cases in early April.
Delfraissy said that France currently reports about 1,000 new cases per day, down from about 80,000 cases in early March, after nationwide home orders and business closures were issued.
In a summary of the latest findings released on Thursday, the French Sante Publique health agency estimated that as of June 2, restaurants across France were allowed to reopen and more students were able to return to the classroom. The country has confirmed 151,325 cases of COVID-19 Confirmed cases.
But it warned that at the peak of the outbreak, there was no systematic detection of patients suspected of having a coronavirus infection in the system, which meant that the actual number of cases exceeded official estimates.
The advisory group this week urged the authorities to prepare for four possible outbreaks in the coming weeks, ranging from continued but limited new cases to a “serious deterioration” of the situation.
“We think the first scenario, a controlled epidemic, is the most likely,” Delfraissy said, citing the success of confinement measures and the chance that coronavirus contagions would let up during the summer months.
He called for more “testing, tracing and quarantine”, because only a small percentage of French people have been exposed to the virus, which means that the second surge in cases is still a risk.
At present, approximately 75% of intensive care patients are divided into four areas: the Paris area, two areas covering the country’s severely affected northeastern area, and the southeast area close to the city of Lyon.
Yet only the Paris region as the overseas territories of Guiana and Mayotte remain in the higher-risk “orange” category on the government s map of the coronavirus threat, with the rest of the country labelled “green.”
This led officials to reopen restaurants, bars and cafes on Tuesday, and lifted travel restrictions to limit travel to within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of one’s home-except for “orange” areas such as Paris, where there is only coffee Pavilions and cafes are allowed in outdoor seating restaurants.
However, gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, and although more students are starting to return to class, high schools in the “orange” area are still closed, and the university is not expected to reopen until September.
The annual Bastille Day parade held in Paris on July 14 has been replaced by a homage to health workers.
However, the football authority said on Friday that the postponed French Cup final may still be held in front of a small audience in Paris.
Two domestic finals that were postponed in April may now be held in August before the start of the next season.
The government hopes to further relax restrictions on movie theaters from June 22, including the reopening of movie theaters. The second round of national municipal elections originally scheduled for March is scheduled to be held on June 28.
“If everything goes well… we will be able to start doing things in orange zones that we ve already started doing in green zones. That would already be major progress,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said this week.