PARIS French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday ordered an almost total lockdown in all of France, warning citizens they should not leave their homes, except in absolute necessity or if part of essential personnel.
“We are at war,” Marcon warned in a solemn address to the nation on the Coronavirus crisis.
“We are at war,” and he repeated this phrase at least six time times in his speech, stressing that “it is a health war which requires a general mobilisation.” The French Presdient also said that he was calling in the army to help with the crisis, including medical corps and transport corps to help overwhelmed medical staff here.
At least one military field hospital is to be built in eastern France, he stated.
France has over six thousand infected cases and so far has 127 confirmed dead, a toll that is expected to rise when figures are released later Monday.
Macron indicated that the new measures would take effect at midday Tuesday and he also said all travel within and to and from the European area would be suspended for 30 days.
The new, stricter quarantine for France will be in effect for at least 15 days and the President stated he was invoking Emergency Powers to tackle the crisis.
Restrictions from Tuesday will ban family gatherings and groupings of friends or colleagues. Employers will have to put the maximum of staff on remote work from home, as well.
Already, schools, universities, restaurants, brasseries, cinemas, museums and any other entertainment or cultural sites are closed. All buildings that receive the public are forbidden to open.
Only absolutely necessary movements to get food or health care will be allowed and must be justified.
Macron warned that those who disobey the new restrictions will face sanctions.
He said that he had no choice but to take the stringent measures because many people had not taken the Coronvirus epidemic seriously and had not respected the restrictions that were announced by him last Thursday.
“Not only are you not protecting yourselves, but you are not protecting others,” he warned, stressing that people were infecting each other in these continuing close contacts.
He urged people to respect the health/contact “barriers” and not shake hands, embrace or be in close contact.
“We must use all our strength to slow down the spread of the virus,” Marcron urged.
In view of the crisis situation, the French leader said he was cancelling until a later date the second round of local elections scheduled for March 22.
He also revealed that the French government was suspending all reforms that are in the pipeline, including the controversial reform of the retirement system.
He said France would win against the virus, but he underlined that everyone, both individually and collectively must rise to the challenge.
Separately, just after Marcon’s address, French media “France Info” reported that the number of Coronavirus cases in France had jumped Monday to above 6,600 from 5,423 Sunday and the number of deaths had risen to 148 from 127 a day earlier.
Source: Kuwait News Agency