France will begin this Tuesday 17 at noon an almost total confinement for all its citizens, who will only be able to go out on the street for reasons of basic necessity in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It is one last Shock measure taken by President Emmanuel Macron to stop the pandemic in his country, which confirmed 6,633 cases of infection and 148 deaths. “We are at war. A health war, but the enemy is there. Invisible, slippery,” recalled the French president in a martial tone.
“From tomorrow at noon and for at least 15 days the circulation of people will be strongly reduced,” Macron announced in a speech to the nation broadcast on television. According to the presidential order, from 17 onwards citizens will only be able to circulate on the street to go to or from work, go to the supermarket and go to health centers if necessary, and all infractions will be sanctioned. Nor will it be possible to “meet friends or go to the park,” Macron said, after images of French gathered in parks and gardens sunbathing became viral.
The measures taken by the Elysee Palace establish that all non-essential public places, such as bars, restaurants and cinemas, remain closed throughout the country, which is in phase 3 of the epidemic, which implies that the coronavirus is present in the entire territory. “I ask you to be responsible and not panic,” said Macron, who reminded citizens that “France is experiencing a very difficult time” and that “we will have to adapt” but “we will win.” The situation “is very worrying” and “deteriorates very quickly”, warned the general director of health services, Jérôme Salomon, who added that cases multiply by two every three days.
100,000 security personnel
France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said that around 100,000 police will be deployed this Tuesday in French cities to guarantee full respect for the quarantine imposed to stop the rapid spread of the virus. “The slogan is clear: stay home. This has to do with containment measures that follow the model that Spain and Italy established,” Castaner said. “They can get some fresh air, but they can’t go out and play soccer. Picnics in the parks are strictly prohibited, as are all group gatherings,” he said.
In accordance with the new rules, people who want to travel will have to prepare a document explaining the reasons for the displacement and take it with them. If they violate this order, they will run the risk of being fined between 38 and 135 euros (42.47 to 150.98 dollars). “Our objective is not to sanction, but to show a collective civic spirit in the face of the crisis,” said the interior minister. In this way, France follows in the footsteps of Italy and Spain, the two most affected countries in Europe, where serious movement restrictions apply to their inhabitants.
300,000 million euros
To alleviate the economic effects of the coronavirus, Macron promised a guarantee of 300,000 million euros for bank loans to companies that he urged to “adapt their organization to respect the protection measures”. It is, he explained, “an exceptional device for deferring tax and social charges, supporting or extending bank maturities and State guarantees amounting to 300,000 million euros for all bank loans contracted with banks.” Macron also promised that the French state will help companies that are at risk of bankruptcy due to the pandemic.