Coronavirus latest news: Roadmap can’t be safely accelerated despite vaccine success, says minister

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British and foreign tourists with a “health pass” – either offering proof of vaccination or a negative PRC test – will be able to visit France again starting from June 9 under an ambitious lockdown exit roadmap, details of which were leaked to the press on Thursday, Henry Samuel reports from Paris.

France will gradually start lifting lockdown next Monday with restaurant terraces reopening mid-May and a return to near-normal by June 30, according to French media, which revealed the timeline of an exit plan that President Emmanuel Macron was due to unveil on Thursday night.

If applied, the four-phase exit plan will see France fully re-opened just nine days after the UK despite bemoaning far higher infection, hospitalisation and death rates.

Several French experts blasted the roadmap as far too early given the current health situation in France.

“Today, we have more people arriving in intensive care than in the peak (of the second wave) in November, so the situation is really very bad and that is the moment (the government chooses) to take its foot off the brake,” said epidemiologist Catherine Hill. “It’s absolutely unreasonable. The virus continues to circulate,” she told BFMTV.

On Wednesday, prime minister Jean Castex said that hospitalisations were going down and that by June, France would no longer be in a “health emergency”. The country has vaccinated 14.6 million people with at least one dose and is on track to reach 20 million by mid-May and 30 million by mid-June.

However, almost 30,000 people are currently hospitalised for Covid treatment in France with a further 30,000 new cases per day.

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