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16 Mar, 2020 19:11

‘We are in a health war’: France severely limits movement for 2 weeks, cancels municipal elections

‘We are in a health war’: France severely limits movement for 2 weeks, cancels municipal elections

French President Emmanuel Macron has imposed a two-week lockdown, declaring ‘war’ on the ‘invisible enemy’ of the coronavirus and canceling the second round of municipal elections.

All citizens have been ordered to stay home and will only be allowed out for “essential duties” such as trips to the grocery store or pharmacy, Macron told the nation on Monday.

The lockdown begins on Tuesday at noon. At the same time, France’s borders with the rest of the Schengen area – much of the EU – will be closed as well, the president announced.

“We are at war,” he repeated several times, noting that France’s struggle is not against a nation or an army, but the “invisible enemy” of the Covid-19 virus, the rapidly spreading contagion rampaging through the EU.

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Anyone defying the restrictions will be punished, Macron noted, without specifying whether the penalties will be civil or criminal.

Not a single French company will go bankrupt. Not a single French person will go without help.

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.

France has registered at least 6,633 cases of coronavirus as of Monday, with 148 fatalities. Macron said he did not know how long the current situation will go on.

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