PARIS — French schools, universities and crèches will be shut down from Monday due to the coronavirus but local elections across the country will go ahead this weekend, President Emmanuel Macron said.
In a televised address to the nation on Thursday evening, Macron outlined a range of measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, protecting those particularly vulnerable, maintaining Frances healthcare system and supporting the economy.
France is among the European countries with the most cases of the virus. As of Thursday, 2,876 people in France had tested positive for COVID-19 and 61 had died, according to government figures.
“We are only at the beginning of this epidemic. Everywhere in Europe, it is accelerating and intensifying,” Macron said.
“As from Monday, and until further notice, crèches, junior high schools, high schools and universities will be closed for a simple reason: Our children and young people are the ones who spread the virus the quickest,” the president announced.
Media reports said Macron was considering postponing the local elections, due to take place on the next two Sundays. But the president said in his address that scientists had advised there was no reason not to go ahead with the polls.
The action plan for the EUs second most-populous country was the latest in a series of extraordinary measures taken by leaders around the world in recent days to try to tackle the virus. Italy is in lockdown, Austria has imposed tight controls on the Italian border and the Czech Republic and Slovakia also announced border control measures on Thursday.
In addition, President Donald Trump announced a ban on visits to the United States for people from 26 European countries. That move drew a swift rebuke from EU leaders and Macron said he would talk to Trump on Friday.
Macron said Europe must avoid falling into nationalism as a result of the crisis and suggested national measures would not be effective on their own in any case.
“This virus doesnt have a passport,” he said.
“We will probably have to take measures to control, to close borders … but we will need to take them at the European level,” Macron said.
Despite the dramatic nature of recent events, Macron did not move France to stage 3 of its coronavirus plan, under which the country would move to trying to mitigate the impact of the virus rather than trying to contain its spread.
Some doctors had called for Macron to take that step as the healthcare system is already Read More – Source