PARIS (Reuters) – France’s lockdown, in place for more than three weeks, has helped contain the spread of the new coronavirus but the time to lift the restrictions has not yet come, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Wednesday.

Philippe told parliament the lockdown would “last”, again suggesting it may be extended beyond its current April 15 end date. COVID-19 has killed more than 10,000 people in France.

“The expansion (of the disease) is slowing so much that we might soon reach a flattening of the curve (…) and that’s most certainly due to the lockdown’s effect”, he said, but added:

“The time to unwind the lockdown has not come. We must see to it people comply with it.”

Data gathered from 2 million people in Britain using a new COVID-19 symptom tracker app suggest lockdown measures are slowing the spread of the disease, according to researchers.

In the United States, an influential university model scaled back its projected death toll by 26% to 60,000 on Wednesday but a federal health official warned of a second wave of infections if Americans relax “social distancing” practices.

Wuhan, the Chinese city where the new coronavirus emerged, ended its more-than two-month lockdown on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Nick Tattersall)

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