On Tuesday, France’s COVID-19 death toll increased by 348 to 26,991, surpassing Spain to become the country with the fourth-highest number of fatalities in the world after the United States, Britain and Italy.
According to the official data released, France's coronavirus death tally was trailing close to Spain's for several weeks, with both countries having more than 22,000 causalities since April 24 and Spain’s less than 100 more than France’s over several days last week.
A day after easing the strict nationwide lockdown, French President Emmanuel Macron’s government said that it was ready to tighten restrictions again if necessary.
Government “deconfinement” coordinator Jean Castex told lawmakers that the first 36 hours of loosening the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 had gone as planned and that the biggest challenge in maintaining social distancing as a bulwark against transmission of the virus was public transport in densely populated areas.
“We must consider the possibility of reversing the end of lockdown. If certain indicators deteriorate, we will tighten measures again, possibly on a regional basis,” Castex said.
The French government has closed down popular parks in Paris such as the Jardin du Luxembourg, despite Mayor Anne Hidalgo urging them to open up the public parks to give Parisians - many of whom live in cramped flats without balconies or terraces - more space to stretch their legs.
On Tuesday, the total number of coronavirus cases in the country crossed 140,227. If the number of daily new infections rise above 3,000 again, the government said it will consider closing down the country again. In the last six days, daily COVID-19 tally has increased by about 670 per day on average.