French President Emmanuel Macron has enacted measures to lock down all of France for 15 days and has declared that the country is facing a “health war” as coronavirus cases increase.
The French president announced the new measures in a televised address to the French nation on Monday evening saying that the coronavirus outbreak has become far more serious in recent days, labelling it an “immediate” crisis.
He urged members of the French public to remain in their homes and stated that the government would be restricting freedom of assembly and movement across the country for the next 15 days starting tomorrow, broadcaster France24 reports.
“We are at war,” Macron declared several times during his speech and while he defended his own position to hold the French municipal elections over the weekend, he announced that the second round of the municipal elections would be postponed.
The country’s borders will also be closed, a move which Germany also adopted, and the French president went on to add that the borders of the European Union and those of the Schengen Agreement would also be closed as of Tuesday afternoon.
Coronavirus: France Shuts Down Cafes, Restaurants, Cinemas, Non-Essential Retail https://t.co/zW1HZyJKFY
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To aid in the containment and handling of the outbreak, hotels and taxi companies will aid in transporting and caring for those affected by the virus. The French armed forces will also mobilize and military medical personnel will be deployed.
On the economic front, Macron pledged 300 billion euros to counter the harmful economic effects of the outbreak and added that he did not want to see a single French business go under due to the coronavirus.
Members of the public who defy the lockdown policies could face punishments but the French leader did not go into specific detail on what consequences those in violation would face.
Over the weekend, despite coronavirus measures previously enacted or recommended by the Macron government, members of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement took to the streets of Paris for the 70th week in a row.
The measures come just days after the government announced that cafes, retail shops and restaurants would be shut down, although public transport would remain open.
Fearing a shutdown of the transportation system, many living in Paris have rushed to organise trips outside the French capital to more rural and less populated areas of the country, with some fearing being locked in their apartments.