France’s Public Health Authority on Sunday reported 36 new deaths from coronavirus, taking the total to 127, and said there had been an increase of more than 1,000 cases. France is now braced for the introduction of much stricter measures to stem the spread of the virus.
“The virus is circulating … it is circulating and it is threatening lives,” Minister for Health Olivier Véran told France 2 television. “I implore the French to respect the strict social measures.”
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The French Public Health Authority said 127 people had now died, up from 91 on Saturday. The number of cases had risen to 5,423 cases, up from 4,449 on Saturday.
The Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported on Sunday that two French regions, which include Paris, are set to go on full lockdown this week. Sources told them that the army could be drafted in to ensure restrictions on movement.
The defense council is scheduled to meet on Monday at 6pm at the Élysée Palace with President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. An announcement about the lockdown is expected to follow.
This meeting comes after many Parisians ignored all the warnings and took advantage of Sunday’s sunshine to spend the day in groups. Pictures on social media captured people gathering for picnics in parks and on the banks of canals, and browsing crowded markets.
18H15, parc des Buttes-Chaumont à Paris. Forte fréquentation.
Les sorties dans les cafés fermés sont remplacés par des moments entre amis ou en famille dans les parcs. #COVIDー19 #CoronavirusFrance pic.twitter.com/sSIk5ZjwuO
— Remy Buisine (@RemyBuisine) March 15, 2020
Faced with this lack of compliance with health regulations, the government is considering the transition to a total containment in at least two regions: Grand-Est and Île-de-France, sources told the Journal de Dimanche. Île-de-France contains Paris. These are two regions where hospitals are already dangerously overcrowded.
@ FRANCE 24 with REUTERS