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France ups containment measures in face of coronavirus

Stricter rules regarding movement and services necessary as the disease continues to take its toll

Cindi Cook   | 24.03.2020
France ups containment measures in face of coronavirus


In the face of an increasing death toll and with the number of people infected by coronavirus rising, Prime Minister Edouard Philppe has imposed much stricter measures on the population, who are under a 14-day nationwide lockdown.

Some 186 people died from the virus on Monday into Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 862. The number of reported cases in France stands at 20,149. This includes France's outlying territories of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana, La Reunion, Corsica, and Mayotte.

As the public enters the second week of the lockdown Tuesday, France's parliament issued an official state of emergency.

The Prime Minister announced Monday evening additional rules to safeguard the public, which include a ban on leaving one's house for more than one hour, once a day, and further than a 1km radius away; a ban on open-air markets except in regions where they are the primary source of a food supply; and an increase in a fine for violating confinement, from €135 ($147) to €1,500 ($1,630) for recidivism within 15 days; in the event of four violations in 30 days, a fine of €3,700 ($4,021) and six months in prison is imposed.
"Many of our fellow citizens would like to return to the time before, the normal time, but it is not for tomorrow," the French prime minister said in a televised address to the nation Monday evening. He added that the confinement period for sick people may last a few more weeks.

The initial outbreak of the coronavirus occurred in mid-December in Wuhan, China, the capital of the Hubei province and spread rapidly over February and March, especially due to the repatriation of French nationals from the infected areas in China at the end of January.

France has 101 departments, with the hardest hit being the Oise in the north, the Haut-de-France and Grand-Est in the east, as well as the Ile-de-France, the central department home to Paris, France's capital.

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