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France closes restaurants, shops to slow spread of coronavirus

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                A woman reads a book in front of the Orsay museum closed after the French government banned all gatherings of over 100 people to limit the spread of the virus COVID-19, in Paris. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A woman reads a book in front of the Orsay museum closed after the French government banned all gatherings of over 100 people to limit the spread of the virus COVID-19, in Paris. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems.

France is shuttering restaurants, cafes and non-essential shops, following in the footsteps of neighboring Italy to curb the new coronavirus’s spread.

“Our goal is to protect the nation,” French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said at a press conference in Paris today. “Too many people still go to cafes and restaurants,” Philipe said. “We must show more discipline.”

The new pathogen, which emerged in China at the end of last year, is unfurling across Europe and has contaminated at least 4,500 people in France and 140,000 worldwide. Governments around the globe are curtailing the movement of citizens to slow its spread.

Confirmed cases in France have doubled in the past 72 hours, and the country should brace for a large number of severe cases as the epidemic takes hold across the country, according to Jerome Salomon, director-general for health.

Restaurants and shops will remain closed until further notice, Philippe said, adding that banks, grocery stores and pharmacies will stay open. The first round of France’s municipal elections on Sunday is maintained, he said.

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