The French government has approved wide-ranging new powers under its state of health emergency, which has been extended until July 10, in order to police the partial easing of lockdown, due to start on Monday, May 11.

Businesses and public authorities have been made criminally responsible for the enforcement of social distancing and other measures, although critics of the move have said they will be difficult to enforce in the courts.

Travellers from non-EU countries, excluding the UK, will be subject to a 14-day quarantine, while tracking software will be allowed to process and collect personal health data “without consent, if necessary.” The social security system will act as the core database.

The legislation also gives the Prime Minister sweeping powers to impose restrictions on people and places, by decree, a move that challenges the rights of local mayors and prefects.

PHOTO: French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe