Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

France shuts museums, theaters, cancels football

French public institutions making decisions to get ahead of coronavirus as Europe becomes epicenter outbreak

Cindi Cook   | 14.03.2020
France shuts museums, theaters, cancels football

PARIS

There are 3,661 cases of the coronavirus and 79 deaths in France as of late Friday.

French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation Thursday and said all schools and universities will be closed Monday until further notice.

It's the latest step in trying to preventing the spread of the virus known as COVID-19 that has gripped the world and seen a rapid-fire rise in cases and deaths in Europe in the past two weeks.

Worldwide, the number of reported cases stands at 133,860 and deaths at 4,967. The statistics were issued in coordinated efforts by France's Ministry of Health, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Falling in lock step with the increased precautionary measures, public institutions are shutting doors as wary attitudes replace laissez-faire beliefs, and numbers climb.

France's major cultural institutions closed Friday until further notice: The most visited museum in the world, the Louvre, shuttered temporarily and France's major modern art museum, the Centre Pompidou, also closed. The Eiffel Tower is closed for visitors, and part of the Chateau du Versailles just outside of Paris has kept open only its park and part of its gardens.

Centers of artistic pride too are closed: The Odeon Theater -- which is running The Glass Menagerie starring Isabelle Huppert -- has cancelled performances -- as has the Theatre des Champs Elysees until April 19. The Paris Opera has cancelled all ballet and opera performances as has the Comedie Francaise.

In sports, the Professional Football League suspended all games in France until further notice, with players expressing fear about player-to-player contact.

The decision comes after an emergency meeting Friday and reverses an earlier decision that games would be played behind to empty until mid-April.

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