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PARIS: The peak of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in France “appears to be behind us”, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday, while travel restrictions will be relaxed from early next month.

He told reporters there had been a “genuine fall in the circulation of the virus over the last 10 days”, confirming that restrictions confining people to a 10-kilometre (six-mile) radius of their homes would be dropped from May 3.

France is currently under its third lockdown to stem the coronavirus but this time it has been considerably more relaxed than the previous ones, with outdoor activities encouraged to promote mental health.

Most non-essential shops have been closed, however, along with cafes, restaurants and also cultural venues, with players in many sectors piling pressure on the government for a reopening after months of closure.

Castex said “shops, certain cultural and sporting activities and the cafe terraces” could reopen “around mid-May”, depending on the evolution of the health situation.

He emphasised that the government could also allow reopenings on a regional basis starting with those areas with lower virus prevalence.

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