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 British government has claimed that the phone call with Macron did not influence the decision to enact stricter measures to fight the virus.
Because the French health care system is under acute strain, the Philippe refused to exclude local curfews. "We believe that the blocking measures that we have taken and that we will tighten again could take several weeks".
The lockdown, already in place for a week nationwide, orders all in France to stay inside except for essential trips outside such as shopping.
"To deal with this wave of the epidemic... we must strictly, very strictly, respect these restriction measures", said Philippe. But we told prefects to get in touch with mayors who deem (a curfew) necessary. If the Macron government were to follow the council's advice, France would remain at a virtual standstill until April 28.
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He also said the anti-malaria drug chloroquine would not be put on the market for mass use against coronavirus until more testing had been done.
"If the lockdown is maintained, which should be the case, places of worship will be inaccessible and family reunions won't be possible", the source added.
Recalling that at a critical moment in the fight against the coronavirus disease, he and Macron have had three phone calls since January, Xi said that has demonstrated the high level of both the mutual trust between the two presidents and the China-France relationship.
Mr Salomon added that 2,516 people were in a serious condition requiring life support, and that some 8,000 hospital beds were now equipped with ventilators.