Tricolour map of France hints at who will escape virus lockdown first

Europe © French Healthy Ministry
MAY 1, 2020 LISTEN
© French Healthy Ministry

In the countdown to France's gradual exit from lockdown on 11 May, the Health Ministry has released a colour-coded map that classifies the areas that are ready to reopen, and those which are still too strained by the coronavirus.

The green, orange and red map of France – one of two presented by Health Minister Olivier Véran late Thursday – essentially cuts the country in three. 

A large north-eastern quarter of the country is coloured crimson – suggesting these areas will be made to maintain strict measures – while a diagonal orange stripe separates the borderline departments from the green ones, where the virus risk is low, and where “deconfinement” will proceed as normal.

While the first map details the pressure on intensive care units in France's hospitals, Véran also presented a second map showing where the virus is actively circulating. 

Announcing the country's deconfinement strategy to the parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said France's lockdown easing would be made according to the evolution of the virus across the various regions.

The map offers the first glimpse of how that might play out, but it is provisional and will be updated daily until the final version is adopted on 7 May – four days ahead of the lockdown lift. Individual departments will then manage their “deconfinement” strategies in line with “local realities”. 

While the map is more or less a snapshot look at how the virus has behaved in France over the past month, Véran insisted its release “changes nothing” about France's lockdown exit plans, saying it represented only “the data for this evening". 

Going forward, French Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon will present an updated map every evening. Three criteria are used to determine a department's status: the rate of suspected new Covid-19 cases over a seven-day period, the strain on intensive care units and a department's capacity to carry out testing.

Kindergarten and primary schools will reopen from 11 May under strict conditions regardless of a department's assigned colour.

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