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France will start relaxing a nightly curfew and allow cafes, bars and restaurants to offer outside service from May 19, regional newspapers reported on Thursday, as President Emmanuel Macron charts a way out of a third COVID-19 lockdown.

Macron, who is under pressure from business groups and a COVID-weary public to open up the economy again, announced in an interview with the regional papers a multi-phase plan for unwinding France‘s month-long stay-at-home order.

The plan envisages the nightly curfew being pushed back to 2100 from 1900 CET from May 19 and to 2300 from June 9, before being scrapped completely on June 30.

Museums, cinemas and theatres will also be allowed to reopen on May 19. Foreign tourists with a “health pass” will be allowed to visit France again from June 9, according to the timetable published by Ouest France and other newspapers.

The Elysee declined to comment ahead of the publication of Macron’s full interview with the regional papers.

The timetable is provisional and could be delayed on a region-by-region basis in areas where intensive care units are close to saturation or the COVID-19 incidence rate exceeds 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, reported Le Parisien.

France’s main COVID-19 indicators all showed some signs of improvement on Wednesday, with the seven-day moving average of daily new infections falling to 27,366 compared with 38,000 when the lockdown began.

France has recorded 5.57 million COVID-19 cases and 103,947 deaths so far since the start of the pandemic.

>> Macron to outline plans to ease Covid-19 restrictions in Friday address

(REUTERS)



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