Virus fight: France under lockdown, troops to enforce

Virus fight: France under lockdown, troops to enforce

President Macron orders public to stay at home for next 15 days to contain spread of new coronavirus

News Service AA

In an effort to stem the further spread of coronavirus pandemic, a lockdown has been put in place in France starting at noon Tuesday.

In a televised address to the nation Monday evening, President Emmanuel Macron announced that all people are to stay confined for next 15 days to avoid further infection and spread of the virus.

"Never has France had to take such decisions, albeit temporary, in time of peace. All our energy should be on one aim: to slow the progress of the virus."

The unprecedented move came after government officials had warned the populace of the severity of the situation and that social gatherings were to be limited, if not eliminated.

Macron expressed his disappointment in that people ignored warnings.

Over the next two weeks, people will be allowed to leave their house only for essential outings: to buy food, to go to a health professional, to care for their children or the vulnerable; to exercise, to walk pets, or go to work if teleworking is not possible.

A force of 100,000 police and gendarmerie have been dispersed throughout Paris on Tuesday as well to enforce the lockdown.

Any person found out on a non-essential mission -- and without a note describing the reason for their outing -- will be fined €35 ($38.5), which may soon rise to €135.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner instructed people to just "stay home" and said their movements would be based on a system of honesty.

The measures also came at a time when reported cases are doubling every three days in France and the death toll continues to rise.

According to the latest figures from the French Health Ministry, the number of reported cases are 6,633 and the death toll stands at 148.

"We are at war," Macron said, "in the health war of course we are fighting neither against armies nor against another nation. But the enemy is there, invisible, and it is progressing."


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