France goes into lockdown as shops close and people told to stay inside to stop spread of coronavirus


France has become the latest country to go into lockdown in a desperate bid to halt the spread of deadly coronavirus.

Some shops, restaurants, cinemas and other entertainment venues have all been shut for the foreseeable future.

Instead, people are being ordered to work from home and only head out to stock up on essentials, take light exercise or vote in the election.

Exceptions on France’s ban include supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations.

Public transport will remain open but Prime Minister  Édouard Philippe encouraged his citizens to limit their use.

More than 90 people have died of the virus there so far and a further 4,500 are infected.

Mr Philippe has described the pandemic as the “biggest health crisis in a century”, MirrorOnline reports.

A sign is displayed outside the Louvre Museum to inform visitors that it will be closed

Speaking at a press conference tonight, Mr Philippe said: “I have decided to close all non-indispensable locations.

“We must absolutely limit our movements.”

“I am conscious of the efforts and sacrifices that we are asking, but I have faith that the French people will have the capacity to overcome this serious moment.”

Jerome Salomon, the head of the French public health authority, said there had been a rapid increase in serious cases, including 300 people in intensive care, half of whom were below 60 years of age.

The development comes after Italy also shut all shops on Wednesday.

Company departments which are not essential for production will no longer operate in Italy, Europe’s worst-affected country, for the foreseeable future.

Many airlines, including British Airways, still won’t fly to Italy from the UK as a result.

Giuseppe Conte, the nation’s Prime Minister, said: “The right decision today is to stay at home.

“Our future and the future of Italy is in our hands. These hands have to be more responsible today than ever before.”

Italy’s 60 million people will now only be able to travel for work, medical reasons or emergencies.





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