Tags: Coronavirus | Virus Outbreak | Europe

In Lockdown Mode, France Tells People to Stay at Home for 15 Days

In Lockdown Mode, France Tells People to Stay at Home for 15 Days
A cylists stops near the gates of the closed Tuileries Gardens in Paris, on Monday. All non-essential public places have been closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Getty Images)

Monday, 16 March 2020 03:47 PM

France is imposing nationwide restrictions on how far from their homes people can go and for what purpose as part of the country's strategy to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that "movements will be very strongly reduced” for 15 days starting at midday Tuesday.

He says residents will only be permitted to leave their homes for necessary trips such as going to work or the supermarket.

Macron said in televised remarks that the government decided to order the restrictions because people haven't complied with earlier public health measures and “we are at war.”

The European Union moved Monday to suppress the spread of the coronavirus by restricting foreign travelers while also proposing fast-track traffic lanes to make sure vital medical equipment reaches E.U. citizens.

The plan was announced almost a week after a nationwide lockdown took effect in Italy, the country with the most reported virus cases in the world except for China. Spain followed suit over the weekend, while other EU nations have adopted ad hoc national measures, including partial border closures.

E.U. officials fear that countries acting alone and without coordination might make things more difficult for neighbors whose health-care systems are already creaking. The virus has infected more than 50,000 people across Europe and caused 2,000 deaths.

“The less travel, the more we can contain the virus," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, as she unveiled the plan that Brussels will put to to the bloc's 27 leaders at a summit to be held via video-conference on Tuesday.

She said travel restrictions into Europe should be put in place for an initial period of 30 days. Exemptions could be given to long-term residents in the EU, border area workers, family members of European nationals and diplomats.

British citizens would not be included in the ban, even though the country officially withdrew from the E.U. on Jan. 31

“Essential staff such as doctors, nurses, care workers, researchers and experts that help address the coronavirus should continue to be allowed in the EU," von der Leyen said.

Transport workers also could receive exemptions to ensure supplies of “essential items such as medicine, but also food and components that our factories need," she said.

On the borders inside the 26-country area of Europe that is visa- and passport-free for citizens and authorized residents, fast lanes would be set up for transporting medical supplies and essential goods. E.U. officials said the goal is to help cut down on traffic jams in border areas and to keep E.U. economies working as the disease chips away at world markets.

The overall idea is “to reduce unnecessary movement, but at the same time to ensure the movement of merchandise, of goods, so that we can guarantee as much as possible the integrity of the single market, guarantee the deliveries that are needed.” E.U. Council President Charles Michel said.

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


   
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France is imposing nationwide restrictions on how far from their homes people can go and for what purpose as part of the country's strategy to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. French President Emmanuel Macron said that "movements will be very strongly reduced" for 15...
Virus Outbreak, Europe
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2020-47-16
Monday, 16 March 2020 03:47 PM
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