March 23, 2020 / 5:32 PM / 15 days ago

Macron against total French lockdown, Easter likely canceled, source says

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron takes part in a videoconference of the "economic task force", at the Elysee Palace, with French economic leaders and members of the governement amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) fears, in Paris, France March 19, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - President Emmanuel Macron told religious authorities on Monday he was against the idea of imposing a total lockdown in France to combat the coronavirus outbreak, a source close to one of the participants said.

Macron has ordered the French to stay at home other than to buy groceries, travel to work, exercise or for medical care. However, some medical professionals have called for stricter measures.

“There will be no total lockdown,” a source close to France’s Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, who took part in the meeting at the Elysee palace, told Reuters. “(Macron) said (this) in essence, because that would cause more pain than healing.”

Macron’s meeting with religious leaders also concluded that celebrations of the Christian holiday of Easter and the Jewish holiday of Passover would probably not be held this year, the source said.

“If the lockdown is maintained, which should be the case, places of worship will be inaccessible and family reunions won’t be possible,” the source added.

Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Gareth Jones and Mike Colett-White

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