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Macron announces 15-day lockdown in French 'war' on coronavirus

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to the nation on Monday, March 16, 2020.
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to the nation on Monday, March 16, 2020. © FRANCE 24 screengrab

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday ordered stringent restrictions on people's movement amid a rapidly worsening coronavirus outbreak, saying the army will be drafted in to help move the sick to hospitals.

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  • Macron announced measures to "severely restrict movements for the next 15 days at least", starting at midday Tuesday, and limit social contacts as much as possible
  • The president ordered people to stay at home unless they need to buy groceries, travel to work, exercise or seek medical care
  • Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said 100,000 officers will be deployed to enforce the lockdown; anyone found outside will have to provide proof of their reasons for travelling
  • Macron said the second round of municipal elections will be suspended, as will his government’s controversial pension overhaul
  • The French president said the EU’s external borders will shut for 30 days, but French nationals will be allowed home; travel across the Schengen Area’s internal borders will be severely restricted
  • The French army will be deployed to help transport the sick and a field hospital is being set up in the hard-hit Alsace region in eastern France
  • Macron also announced a 300-billion-euro package to help prop up struggling businesses
  • The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in France rose to 148 on Monday, with 6,633 confirmed cases

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