Covid-19: Restaurants, cafes, non-food shops to close

All restaurants, bars, cafes and ‘non-essential’ shops, cinemas and night clubs throughout France are to close from midnight tonight and remain closed until further notice, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced tonight.

14 March 2020
By Sarah Smith (SA)

Food shops and markets, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks and newsagents - and certain public services - can remain open. Religious buildings can stay open but ceremonies and gatherings must be cancelled.

Hotels and airports were not mentioned.

It comes after the number of cases of Covid-19 has doubled in the last 72 hours in France to reach 4,500 and of these 300 are in a serious condition. There have been 91 deaths.

Mr Philippe asked people to respect as much as possible a 1-metre distance with others.

Level 3 (of 3) of a national epidemic is now in action, meaning stronger measures are needed to limit the spread of the virus. Individuals have not been taking advice aimed at limiting the spread seriously enough, Mr Philippe said.

The transport system will continue but people are asked to limit non-essential trips.

The prime minister and French Health Director General Jérôme Salomon called for calm.

Mr Salomon said the virus cannot spread alone but only through people and that everyone must take the official advice seriously and act responsibly.

This is:

1: Keep a 1 metre distance with others.

2: Wash your hands with soap or hydroalcoholic sanitising gel frequently.

3: Cough or sneeze into your elbow.

4: Use single use tissues.

5: Do not shake hands or greet people with kisses on the cheek;

6: If you are sick, stay at home and wear a mask in the company of others.

7: If you believe you are sick do not go to the hospital or visit your local doctor as you may infect others. Instead call your local doctor and take paracetamol for the fever. Do not take anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or cortisone to treat the possible symptoms of Covid-19 as these could actually worsen the infection.

If you have returned from a high risk area [China (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao), Singapore, South Korea, Iran or the Lombardy and Veneto regions in Italy] and present symptom of respiratory infection such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing within 14 days of your return, call 15. Do not go to your local hospital or doctor.

A free hotline service can answer your questions about the Coronavirus Covid-19 non-stop , 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 0800 130 000. It cannot give medical advice.

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