France To Avoid Discrimination On The Basis Of Age At Lockdown Exit

France To Avoid Discrimination On The Basis Of Age At Lockdown Exit

France would try to avoid setting separate rules for the elderly and other forms of discrimination once the government begins to relax its steps for coronavirus confinement, the French President's office said. 

France's lockdown to counter the epidemic, which, as in Spain, Italy and other European nations, requires limits on shop openings and the movements of people, will come into effect until at least 11 May, President Emmanuel Macron said earlier this week.

After that, schools and shops are due to reopen, although it is still uncertain at what pace France will allow certain businesses like hotels or cafes to restart, and whether it is planning at the same time to remove restrictions on home confinement for all. 

In recent days, concern had developed about whether older people, who are thought to be more vulnerable to the deadly virus, will be ordered to stay at home for longer.

Statements this week in the Senate of France by Professor Jean-Fran├žois Delfraissy — who heads the Scientific Council advising the government on the epidemic — particularly prompted a outcry after he said the confinement order could continue for people aged 65 or 70. 

The Elysee palace said on Saturday, "The President followed the increasing debate over the situation for elderly people after May 11."

“He does not want there to be any discrimination among citizens after May 11 in the context of a gradual easing of confinement measures, and will appeal to people’s individual responsibility.”

France's reported death toll from coronavirus infections was close to 19,000 on Friday, although most data offered additional evidence that the spread of the disease slowed after the national one-month lockdown.

Photo: France during lockdown.