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‘Papers, please’: France adapts to life on coronavirus lockdown

Police patrol in Paris on March 17, 2020, after the country when into lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Police patrol in Paris on March 17, 2020, after the country when into lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. © Reuters / France 24

The streets have been nearly empty in cities across France after the country went into lockdown at noon on Tuesday to combat the spread of coronavirus, with police out in force to ensure the new rules are being respected. For residents, the new measures mean adapting to a new way of life.

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Some 100,000 police and gendarmes have been deployed across the country to enforce the lockdown measures, with people only allowed to leave home for officially sanctioned reasons such as going to work, shopping for necessities or getting medical treatment.

Anyone on the streets must carry a signed document stating their reason for not being at home.

"I went out and there were checks as part of the "confinement". They (police) do checks and they do ask for the sworn statement," said Paris resident Clermont Su.

"They did check and told me that for the next time, we have to have the document each time we go out along with an ID."

"I think it's good, it's very, very good. We now have to eradicate this virus, and to do this, everyone has to confine themselves. If we don't confine ourselves, we spread the virus, and that's a bad thing. So yes, it's very, very good," said Parisian Latifa Abdeljalil.

So far, police say most people are respecting the rules. But those who don’t risk a fine of between €38 and €135.

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