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France moves to Phase 2 of easing coronavirus lockdown

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe looks on during a session of questions to the government at the French National Assembly in Paris, France May 26, 2020, as France eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Christophe Archambault/Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) – Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Thursday said France was moving to phase two of relaxing its lockdown and the greater Paris region was no longer deemed to be a “red” coronavirus hot-spot zone.

Philippe told France’s 67 million people that danger still lurked and the government would pay particular attention to public health indicators in Paris and its surrounding area as the restrictions are relaxed.

“Freedom will become the rule, bans the exception,” Philippe said in a televised address.

The coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 28,500 people in France, but on Wednesday the death toll rose by less than 100 for the seventh day running.

Philippe said the greater Paris region was now designated an “orange” zone, meaning Paris was not as free of the virus as almost all other regions designated “green”, and the easing of restrictions would be more prudent.

“Results are good from a health point of view, even if we remain cautious”, the prime minister said.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Michel Rose; writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Jon Boyle, William Maclean

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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