UK Daily Mail: ‘We are at WAR’: President Macron orders full lockdown in France telling everyone they MUST stay at home (and will face a fine if they go out without filling in online form)
- In an address to the nation, Macron said the French had to ‘severely restrict movements for the next 15 days’
- Authorities will enforce the new restrictions, with so-far unspecified ‘punishments’ for those who break them
- Hotels and private businesses will be requisitioned by the state in order to help sufferers of the lethal virus
- After thousands crowded into parks in Paris yesterday the capital city appeared near-deserted this morning
President Emmanuel Macron tonight said ‘we are at war’ with coronavirus as he ordered a full lockdown in France and told the public to stay at home.
In a solemn live TV address on Monday evening, the head of state said that people would have to stay at home unless shopping for food or going to a pharmacy, heading for absolutely essential work, or exercising alone. In French:
French troops are also being deployed to transport patients to a field hospital which is being set up in the east of the country and today, in scenes reminiscent of China’s lockdown, army trucks rolled through the streets of Paris.
Per contact:Tuesday total confinement Paris except for absolute necessity. Curfew, will be barriers. Army preparing. Only doctors police etc authorised. Macron to announce tonight. Banned to leave home except to get food/medical assistance Army imposing. Fines #parislockdown— Claire Waddington (@clairewad) March 16, 2020
Macron also announced that the second round of local elections due to be held on March 22 would be postponed and hotels and other private businesses will meanwhile be requisitioned by the state in order to help treat sufferers of the lethal virus.
The country’s Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, later clarified that anyone leaving the house in France ‘for any reason’ will have to download a form or risk a minimum £34.60 fine enforced by 100,000 police and gendarmes.
I am French but live in the Netherlands, France is on lockdown and the military is approaching Paris and big cities. There is a rumor of curfew. In The Netherlands the approach is more relax but supermarkets are empty of essentials. pic.twitter.com/IVasYiS5n5— Protée 🇫🇷👩🏼🎨 (@nadedge) March 16, 2020
He said ‘essential professions’ who can still enjoy easy travel include medical and postal workers, but few others.
They will instead have to write ‘going out to buy a baguette’ or ‘walking the dog’ on an individual printed form every single time.
‘We can always practice a physical activity or take our dog out, but everyone should do it sparingly, without meeting in a group,’ Mr Castaner said.
‘We can get some fresh air yes, but certainly not play a football match. A control system will be set up by 100,000 police and gendarmes,’ he added.
In a solemn live TV address on Monday evening, the head of state said that people would have to stay at home unless shopping for food or going to a pharmacy, heading for absolutely essential work, or exercising alone
Mr Castaner said the minimum fine would be €38 (£34.60) and that this would ‘rapidly rise’ to €130 (£118) if it remained unpaid.
The forms will be downloadable online from the website of the French Ministry of the Interior each night during a minimum lockdown of two weeks, starting at midday on Tuesday.
‘It will be up to everyone to fill it out to specify the nature of their trip,’ said Mr Castaner. ‘Those who have business cards will be invited to present them.’
Mr Macron also announced that Borders with other European countries will also be closed, although French nationals will be allowed to ‘return home’. The measures will start at 12 midday on Tuesday, and go on for ‘at least two weeks’, said Mr Macron.
Mr Macron said: ‘Walking, meeting friends in the park or in the street will no longer be possible. It is a question of limiting as much as possible all contact beyond the home. All over French territory, in mainland France as well as overseas, only necessary journeys must remain necessary.’
The Chateau de Versailles has shut its doors due to the coronavirus outbreak (pictured today). In a solemn live TV address on Monday evening, President Macron said that people would have to stay at home unless shopping for food or going to a pharmacy, heading for absolutely essential work, or exercising alone
Admitting that the economic cost would be enormous, Mr Macron said: ‘All businesses must organise to facilitate remote work. And when that is not possible, they will have to adapt their organization to enforce these new measures.’
Government grants will be made available to those facing bankruptcy, while tax demands will be frozen.
There are currently 5400 people infected by Coronavirus in France, while 127 are dead and 400 in intensive care in hospitals which are struggling to cope.
Despite measures brought in over the weekend including a ban on crowds of more than 100, and the closure of non-essential shops, people were still breaking the new rules.
Mr Macron said: ‘We are at war and the Nation will support its children who, there, medical staff in town, at the hospital, are on the front line in a fight that will ask them for determination, solidarity.
‘They have rights over us. We obviously owe them the means, the protection. We will be there. We owe them masks, gel, all the necessary equipment, and we will make sure of it.
‘We also owe caregivers custody of their children. A minimum daycare service has been in place since that day in nurseries and schools. We also owe them serenity, movement and rest. ‘This is why I decided that from taxis and hotels can be mobilized for their benefit. The state will pay.
People watch French President Emmanuel Macron on TV as he speaks during a televised address to the nation about the coronavirus outbreak
The Gare de Lyon station was left practically deserted during rush hour in Paris today. The scenes are a stark constrast to yesterday where thousands crowded into parks and streets in the capital
I therefore decided that a field hospital of the army service would be deployed in the days to come in Alsace (the eastern region close to Germany). The army will also help to move the sick from the most affected regions and thus reduce congestion in hospitals.’
Hours earlier, Mr Macron had attending an emergency meeting in Paris, where the country’s Scientific Council recommended an ‘Italian-style confinement’
Mr Macron continued: ‘The government has taken firm decisions to curb the spread of the virus. On Saturday evening, restaurants and non-essential businesses closed their doors. France had never had to make such decisions in peacetime. They were taken for good reasons, with one goal: to protect us.
‘This is why, after having consulted, listened to the experts in the field and in good conscience, I decided to further strengthen the measures to reduce our travel.
‘To protect ourselves and contain the spread of the virus, but also to preserve our healthcare systems, we have taken a joint decision between Europeans. From noon tomorrow, the borders at the entrance to the European Union and the Schengen area will be closed. All travel between European countries and the European Union will be suspended.
French women who are currently abroad and wish to return can of course join their country.