The French government was today considering putting Paris into full lockdown as coronavirus cases ‘doubled every three days’.
Jérôme Salomon, the country’s Director General of Health, said ‘the situation is extremely worrying and deteriorating very quickly’ after thousands visited parks and walked beside the Seine river in the capital yesterday.
There are currently 5,423 people infected and more than 400 in intensive care in hospitals, which are struggling to cope. The death toll has jumped by 36 in the past 24 hours to 127.
France’s director general of health, Jerome Salomon, has appealed for people to ‘mobilise’ to combat the disease after many walked the streets of Paris yesterday despite the lockdown (Pictured above at the Place du Trocadero)
Thousands relax on the Les Invalides in front of Napoleon’s mausoleum yesterday
France’s director general of health, Jerome Salomon, has appealed for people to ‘mobilise’ to combat the disease after many walked the streets of Paris yesterday despite the lockdown (pictured above)
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.
Parks were full on Sunday, where food was still being sold in takeaway stalls, so ‘we cannot manage to slow down the march of the epidemic,’ said Mr Salomon.
‘France will very quickly be overrun if people do not conform to the new measures. Cases are doubling every three days.’
‘A lot of people have not understood that they need to stay at home, and this low level at which people have adhered means that we are not succeeding in curbing the outbreak of the epidemic.’
He added it would be ‘catastrophic’ if France were to reach a stage on deciding whether to save the lives of certain patients over that of others.
People gather at the edge of the Seine in Paris yesterday despite the lockdown
And others gathered in Les Invalides park despite the closure of most shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities on March 14. France is considering an order to force its inhabitants to stay at home
People relaxing in the Les Invalides park yesterday despite the country’s coronavirus outbreak
‘There is a real worry that the speed of the outbreak could saturate hospitals and this is something we absolutely want to avoid. This is why we must do everything to slow down the outbreak.
‘Each Frenchman and Frenchwoman must tell themselves every morning: How can I reduce by a third or fourth the number of people I approach?’
‘Remain at home, it’s as simple as that.’
He singled out the badly affected Alsace region near Germany and greater Paris as the areas worst hit, although there have been cases throughout the country.
French authorities are preparing an order to put its inhabitants under partial lockdown, sources told Reuters, a move that would further tighten restrictions on public life.
A man uses rollerskates while wearing a facemask along the quays of the Seine river yesterday
Germany has imposed restrictions on entering the country. Above is pictured the border between Kehl and Strasbourg this morning
Schools, colleges and universities will all be shut down from Monday, along with tourist attractions such as the Louvre museum and Eiffel Tower.
Aides to President Emmanuel Macron meanwhile confirmed that a ‘full lockdown’ was likely to be introduced ‘by Tuesday or soon afterwards.’
‘This will mean people only being able to leave their homes for food and medical supplies, or to attend their place of employment if they cannot work from home.’
The French army and police would enforce the ban, which would be introduced by emergency decree and include a 6pm curfew, said the presidential source.
Such a lockdown would be indefinite and be the first time that the most popular tourist city in the world has effectively shut down.
The border between Kehl, Germany, and Strasbourg, France, is pictured above
France went ahead with local elections yesterday where voters were required to use hand sanitiser when visiting polling booths. Above is the Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo
French polling staff also wore face masks and latex gloves at polling booths yesterday
The British are the biggest tourist group to Paris, and many are already trying to get away before the situation gets even worse.
Eurostar high speed train services to London were at the weekend offering passengers the chance to ‘make your way to the station and you will be placed on the next available service free of charge.’
Despite the lockdown France held local elections for mayors and municipal councils yesterday, but with strict hygiene measures.