President Emmanuel Macron tonight said ‘we are at war’ with coronavirus as he ordered a full lockdown in France and told the public to stay at home.
In a solemn live TV address on Monday evening, the head of state said that people would have to stay at home unless shopping for food or going to a pharmacy, heading for absolutely essential work, or exercising alone.
French troops are also being deployed to transport patients to a field hospital which is being set up in the east of the country and today, in scenes reminiscent of China’s lockdown, army trucks rolled through the streets of Paris.
Macron also announced that the second round of local elections due to be held on March 22 would be postponed and hotels and other private businesses will meanwhile be requisitioned by the state in order to help treat sufferers of the lethal virus.
The country’s Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, later clarified that anyone leaving the house in France ‘for any reason’ will have to download a form or risk a minimum £34.60 fine enforced by 100,000 police and gendarmes.
He said ‘essential professions’ who can still enjoy easy travel include medical and postal workers, but few others.
They will instead have to write ‘going out to buy a baguette’ or ‘walking the dog’ on an individual printed form every single time.
‘We can always practice a physical activity or take our dog out, but everyone should do it sparingly, without meeting in a group,’ Mr Castaner said.
‘We can get some fresh air yes, but certainly not play a football match. A control system will be set up by 100,000 police and gendarmes,’ he added.
In a solemn live TV address on Monday evening, the head of state said that people would have to stay at home unless shopping for food or going to a pharmacy, heading for absolutely essential work, or exercising alone
Mr Castaner said the minimum fine would be €38 (£34.60) and that this would ‘rapidly rise’ to €130 (£118) if it remained unpaid.
The forms will be downloadable online from the website of the French Ministry of the Interior each night during a minimum lockdown of two weeks, starting at midday on Tuesday.
‘It will be up to everyone to fill it out to specify the nature of their trip,’ said Mr Castaner. ‘Those who have business cards will be invited to present them.’
Mr Macron also announced that Borders with other European countries will also be closed, although French nationals will be allowed to ‘return home’. The measures will start at 12 midday on Tuesday, and go on for ‘at least two weeks’, said Mr Macron.
Mr Macron said: ‘Walking, meeting friends in the park or in the street will no longer be possible. It is a question of limiting as much as possible all contact beyond the home. All over French territory, in mainland France as well as overseas, only necessary journeys must remain necessary.’
The Chateau de Versailles has shut its doors due to the coronavirus outbreak (pictured today). In a solemn live TV address on Monday evening, President Macron said that people would have to stay at home unless shopping for food or going to a pharmacy, heading for absolutely essential work, or exercising alone
A customer walks past nearly empty shelves at a Monoprix supermarket as people began stockpiling food in Paris due to an outbreak of coronavirus pandemic
Admitting that the economic cost would be enormous, Mr Macron said: ‘All businesses must organise to facilitate remote work. And when that is not possible, they will have to adapt their organization to enforce these new measures.’
Government grants will be made available to those facing bankruptcy, while tax demands will be frozen.
There are currently 5400 people infected by Coronavirus in France, while 127 are dead and 400 in intensive care in hospitals which are struggling to cope.
Despite measures brought in over the weekend including a ban on crowds of more than 100, and the closure of non-essential shops, people were still breaking the new rules.
Mr Macron said: ‘We are at war and the Nation will support its children who, there, medical staff in town, at the hospital, are on the front line in a fight that will ask them for determination, solidarity.
‘They have rights over us. We obviously owe them the means, the protection. We will be there. We owe them masks, gel, all the necessary equipment, and we will make sure of it.
‘We also owe caregivers custody of their children. A minimum daycare service has been in place since that day in nurseries and schools. We also owe them serenity, movement and rest. ‘This is why I decided that from taxis and hotels can be mobilized for their benefit. The state will pay.
People watch French President Emmanuel Macron on TV as he speaks during a televised address to the nation about the coronavirus outbreak
The Gare de Lyon station was left practically deserted during rush hour in Paris today. The scenes are a stark constrast to yesterday where thousands crowded into parks and streets in the capital
I therefore decided that a field hospital of the army service would be deployed in the days to come in Alsace (the eastern region close to Germany). The army will also help to move the sick from the most affected regions and thus reduce congestion in hospitals.’
Hours earlier, Mr Macron had attending an emergency meeting in Paris, where the country’s Scientific Council recommended an ‘Italian-style confinement’
Mr Macron continued: ‘The government has taken firm decisions to curb the spread of the virus. On Saturday evening, restaurants and non-essential businesses closed their doors. France had never had to make such decisions in peacetime. They were taken for good reasons, with one goal: to protect us.
‘This is why, after having consulted, listened to the experts in the field and in good conscience, I decided to further strengthen the measures to reduce our travel.
‘To protect ourselves and contain the spread of the virus, but also to preserve our healthcare systems, we have taken a joint decision between Europeans. From noon tomorrow, the borders at the entrance to the European Union and the Schengen area will be closed. All travel between European countries and the European Union will be suspended.
French women who are currently abroad and wish to return can of course join their country.
Jérôme Salomon, the country’s Director General of Health, said earlier today ‘the situation is extremely worrying and deteriorating very quickly’ after thousands visited parks and walked beside the Seine river in the capital yesterday.
There are currently 5,437 people infected and more than 400 in intensive care in hospitals, which are struggling to cope. The death toll has jumped by 36 in the past 24 hours to 127.
Shops remained shuttered along the famous Place Vendome in Paris this morning, as owners obeyed the lockdown
Few commuters were also seen on this train at Gare de Lyon, a major station in the capital, during rush hour this morning
France’s director general of health, Jerome Salomon, has appealed for people to ‘mobilise’ to combat the disease after many walked the streets of Paris yesterday despite the lockdown (Pictured above at the Place du Trocadero)
Despite measures brought in over the weekend including a ban on crowds of more than 100 and the closure of non-essential shops, people were still breaking the new rules.
Parks were full on Sunday, where food was still being sold in takeaway stalls, so ‘we cannot manage to slow down the march of the epidemic,’ said Mr Salomon.
‘France will very quickly be overrun if people do not conform to the new measures. Cases are doubling every three days.’
‘A lot of people have not understood that they need to stay at home, and this low level at which people have adhered means that we are not succeeding in curbing the outbreak of the epidemic.’
He added it would be ‘catastrophic’ if France were to reach a stage on deciding whether to save the lives of certain patients over that of others.
A car driving out of the Chateau de Versailles, western Paris, this morning. It has been closed by the coronavirus outbreak
Tourists take pictures of each other as they visit the deserted Place Vendome in Paris this morning
Schools have also been closed by the coronavirus outbreak. Above is an abandoned classroom pictured in Paris today
The corridors of Parisian schools have fallen silent as children are asked to stay at home due to the disease
French citizens were seen queuing and clutching trolleys as they waited to enter a supermarket in Hnheim, north-east France
The French government said there are 5,437 cases of coronavirus in the country. It said 127 people have died from the virus
‘There is a real worry that the speed of the outbreak could saturate hospitals and this is something we absolutely want to avoid. This is why we must do everything to slow down the outbreak.
‘Each Frenchman and Frenchwoman must tell themselves every morning: How can I reduce by a third or fourth the number of people I approach?’
‘Remain at home, it’s as simple as that.’
He singled out the badly affected Alsace region near Germany and greater Paris as the areas worst hit, although there have been cases throughout the country.
French authorities are preparing an order to put its inhabitants under partial lockdown, sources told Reuters, a move that would further tighten restrictions on public life.
France’s director general of health, Jerome Salomon, has appealed for people to ‘mobilise’ to combat the disease after many walked the streets of Paris yesterday despite the lockdown (pictured above)
Yesterday thousands defied the curfew to relax on the footpaths next to the river Seine in Paris
A man uses rollerskates while wearing a facemask along the quays of the Seine river yesterday
And others gathered in Les Invalides park despite the closure of most shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities on March 14. France is considering an order to force its inhabitants to stay at home
Thousands relax on the Les Invalides in front of Napoleon’s mausoleum yesterday
People relaxing in the Les Invalides park yesterday despite the country’s coronavirus outbreak
Schools, colleges and universities will all be shut down from Monday, along with tourist attractions such as the Louvre museum and Eiffel Tower.
Aides to President Emmanuel Macron meanwhile confirmed that a ‘full lockdown’ was likely to be introduced ‘by Tuesday or soon afterwards.’
‘This will mean people only being able to leave their homes for food and medical supplies, or to attend their place of employment if they cannot work from home.’
The French army and police would enforce the ban, which would be introduced by emergency decree and include a 6pm curfew, said the presidential source.
Such a lockdown would be indefinite and be the first time that the most popular tourist city in the world has effectively shut down.
Germany has imposed restrictions on entering the country. Above is pictured the border between Kehl and Strasbourg this morning
France went ahead with local elections yesterday where voters were required to use hand sanitiser when visiting polling booths. Above is the Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo
French polling staff also wore face masks and latex gloves at polling booths yesterday
The British are the biggest tourist group to Paris, and many are already trying to get away before the situation gets even worse.
Eurostar high speed train services to London were at the weekend offering passengers the chance to ‘make your way to the station and you will be placed on the next available service free of charge.’
Despite the lockdown France held local elections for mayors and municipal councils yesterday, but with strict hygiene measures.
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'We are at WAR': President Macron orders full lockdown in France telling everyone they MUST stay home (and be fined if they go out without filling in online form) - as he drafts in the military to take sick to hospital have 2848 words, post on www.dailymail.co.uk at March 16, 2020. This is cached page on VietNam Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.