World, Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

4 French MPs, 1 minister infected with COVID-19

Virus continues to hit France, with reported cases rising among populace as well as government officials

Cindi Cook   | 10.03.2020
4 French MPs, 1 minister infected with COVID-19

PARIS

France's political infrastructure has fallen prey to the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, with four members of the National Assembly, the culture minister, and one worker reported infected as of Tuesday.

The first case was confirmed on Friday, when conservative parliamentarian Jean-Luc Reitzer was ushered into intensive care in Mulhouse, France, bordering Switzerland, and he has since stabilized.

Over the weekend, conservative MP Elisabeth Toutut-Picard was also hospitalized due to the virus, but has now returned home. She is a member of La Republique En Marche (LREM), President Emmanuel Macron's party.

Also on Friday, LREM member Guillaume Vuilletet tested positive and took it upon himself to isolate at home.

The last reported member of the assembly to fall ill is socialist MP Sylvie Tolmont. Already in recovery, Mm. Tolmont has communicated that her condition is not serious.

All are in various stages of confinement, and those who have come into contact with them have been alerted to the situation.

A worker from the Assembly's snack bar had also been reported stricken on Thursday.

French Culture Minister Franck Riester, is also infected with the coronavirus and is at home under quarantine.

Despite 104 reported cases in the Ile-de-France, the parliament said it will carry on business as usual.

As of Tuesday morning, France reports 221 new cases of the virus over the past 24 hours, the total number surpassing 1,400 now, with 30 confirmed deaths.

France is the second-most affected country on the European continent following Italy, which is currently in lockdown announced by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Tuesday morning. The cases in Italy have skyrocketed over the past week reaching 9,172, with 463 reported deaths.

The French government has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people, and suspended schools in the northern regions of Oise and Haut-Rhin until further notice, to guard against the virus.

The global death toll from the coronavirus is now over 4,000, with nearly 114,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The virus originated in China but has reached over 100 countries, with the WHO saying on Monday that the “threat of a pandemic has become very real”.

As part of efforts to contain the outbreak, some governments closed borders and suspended land and air travel with the worst-hit countries.

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