The French Prime Minister has hinted at ways in which the current coronavirus lockdown could be eased once the coronavirus epidemic stabilises.

Edouard Philippe said that the ‘deconfinement’ will most likely be introduced gradually, and will not be carried out “all at once, everywhere and for everyone.” He said that a draft strategy will be presented in a few days, or within a few weeks, depending on the data.

The lockdown, first ordered on March 16, has been extended until April 15, and the general expectation is that it will be extended once more, until the end of April.

The PM said that several teams are working on the plans, and one possibility is that younger people will be released from the lockdown policy before older citizens. He said that the problem is very complex and without precedent.

Blood test kits will be used to find out the level of immunity in the general population, he said, and they will be crucial in deciding how restrictions will be relaxed. “The decisive indicator”, however, will remain “the number of acute cases.” The aim is make sure that there are enough intensive care beds for all those who are seriously ill.

The raw figures on Thursday, April 2, suggest that the number of new cases has peaked and will follow a plateau for some days before falling. However, cumulative fatalities from nursing homes that had not previously been included in the daily death total were added on Thursday, and those 884 deaths brought the daily total to 1,355.