Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Death toll in France from coronavirus rises to 61

French president announces closure of schools, colleges, high schools and universities as of March 16 until further notice

Yusuf Ozcan   | 13.03.2020
Death toll in France from coronavirus rises to 61

PARIS 

The death toll in France from the country’s novel coronavirus outbreak rose to 61, the Health Ministry said Thursday.

The number of confirmed cases of the virus has also risen to 2,876 from 2,281, the ministry said in a statement.

President Emmanuel Macron announced new measures against the coronavirus outbreak in a televised address to the nation.

Macron said nurseries, schools, colleges, high schools and universities will be closed as of March 16 for an undetermined amount of time.

Describing the coronavirus outbreak as the “biggest health crisis that France has known in a century,” he also warned people to limit travel and to work from home as much as possible.

He stressed that municipal elections set for this weekend will be held.

France is the second-most affected country in Europe after Italy, which is currently under a lockdown announced by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday. The death toll in Italy from the coronavirus is over 1,015.

The French government has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people to guard against the virus.

The deadly coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, was first detected in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 114 countries.

The global death toll is now over 4,900, with more than 134,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which has declared the outbreak "a pandemic."

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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