PARIS – France will shut most shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities from midnight on Saturday and people should stay home as much as possible as the spread of coronavirus is accelerating, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced.
He was speaking at a news conference after the public health authority said 91 people had died in France and almost 4,500 were now infected.
‘I have decided to close all non-indispensable locations, notably cafes, restaurants, cinemas, nightclubs and shops’, he said. ‘We must absolutely limit out movements’.
Exceptions to the shop ban will include food stores, pharmacies and petrol stations.
Philippe said the government had been left with no choice because too many people were still out in the streets and not sufficiently applying recently announced measures, including keeping a safe distance from each other.
That, he said, was helping accelerate the spread of the virus.
France has already ordered the closure of schools from Monday and had advised people over the age of 70 to stay home.
Philippe said public transport would remain open, but the government expected companies to put into place systems for people to work from home beginning on Monday.
However, he said local elections on Sunday would go ahead under strict sanitary conditions.
President Emmanuel Macron decided last week go ahead with the elections, saying it was vital the democratic system continue to function, despite some criticism and concern over the possibility of people being infected at polling stations.
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