French PM does not rule out re-imposing lockdown if necessary

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presents the details for the end of the country's lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Hotel Matignon in Paris, France May 7, 2020. Christophe Archambault/Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) - French Prime Edouard Philippe said on Thursday that the government will reinforce the national lockdown it is partially lifting on Monday if the spread of the new coronavirus acclerates again.

“We have always said that we would rather not have to, if possible, resort to that (a new lockdown) but also that, in the event that there was no other option, we would not rule it out,” Philippe told a televised news conference.

“The timing of this type of measure would depend on the speed of circulation of the disease and on other factors.”

France is ready to start unwinding its coronavirus lockdown as planned, the prime minister said earlier in the news conference, although some regions including the Paris area where the disease is still circulating will keep some restrictions.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Kevin Liffey