"We Are At War": France Announces Lockdown To Tackle Coronavirus

Cheryl Sanders
March 17, 2020

President Emmanuel Macron late on Monday said the country "was at war" with coronavirus and announced restrictions unprecedented in post-war France.

Macron said many French people have continued to live their lives as if nothing had changed and have failed to take coronavirus seriously enough, leading to a skyrocketing number of coronavirus cases which are flooding hospitals that will soon run out of ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds.

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

France's president, Emmanuel Macron, announced on Monday that the country would enact a 15-day lockdown, prohibiting residents from leaving their homes unless absolutely necessary. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said 100,000 police would be charged with enforcing the crackdown.

Macron said under the new regime gatherings among friends and family would no longer be allowed, only "necessary movements" like shopping, medical visits or working when tele-commuting was not possible.

"We're at war", said Macron, who previously called coronavirus "the biggest health crisis that France has known in a century".

French people on holiday will be able to come back to France and those living overseas were told to contact embassies and consulates who will help them be repatriated.

The country's borders will also be closed, a move which Germany also adopted, and the French president went on to add that the borders of the European Union and those of the Schengen Agreement would also be closed as of Tuesday afternoon.

Schools had already been shut down, but Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday ordered a ban on religious services and the closing of most shops other than grocery stores.

Macron also announced several measures aimed at insulating businesses against failing amid the economic damage the virus is causing globally, guaranteeing bank loans up to $300 billion.

"The better everyone sticks to these rules, the faster we'll get through this phase", Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin, according to the BBC.

Not a single French company will go bankrupt.

However, the collection of utility bills - gas, electricity, water and rent - will also be suspended for the duration, as the Elysee Palace sought to temper the hardship imposed on France.

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