France has been placed in full lockdown mode by its government, following similar coronavirus measures taken by neighboring Spain and Italy.
Starting on Tuesday at noon, individuals will be obligated to stay home — except to got out to buy food or medicine — for a duration of two weeks, said Macron in a televised speech Monday evening.
He added that people who won’t abide by the new guidelines will be fined. All borders of Europe will also be closed beginning Tuesday at noon.The lockdown could be extended beyond the initial two weeks, as the government will regularly consult with scientists and doctors specialised in treating coronavirus.
“We’re at war,” said Macron, who previously called coronavirus “the biggest health crisis that France has known in a century.” The French leader repeated that the country was “at war” with the virus six times throughout the speech. Macron also said the second round of the municipal elections will be postponed.
To date, France has 6,012 cases of coronavirus, 127 deaths and 400 people in critical condition as of Monday. France is among the hardest hit countries in Europe, along with Italy, Germany and Spain.
Within the last few days, the government also closed down schools, daycares and universities, as well stores, restaurants, and movie theaters in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Since Sunday, only stores of necessities, such as pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, banks and newspaper stands have been allowed to remain open.
In spite of the new measures, the streets, flea markets and parks were crowded on Sunday. 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.
In his speech, Macron also said the government will step in to make sure that companies don’t go bankrupt in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and suggested that loans, tax delays, among other things, will be granted to them. Near all of the country’s film and TV shoots have been halted, while more than 25 film releases have so far been canceled and/or postponed.