New restrictions from tomorrow, says French PM

New restrictions to combat the coronavirus epidemic have been announced tonight by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe during a televised address. The key points are:

- Physical activity or going out with children is limited to one hour within a radius of 1km from your home, once a day and not with others.

- If you are going out to exercise or to take some air with children you should now write the time you go out on the obligatory form you take with you. This is because the time is limited to an hour. For reminder this form (or a signed handwritten note with the same wording) is needed per person for every outing from your home. There is a separate form to use if your reason for leaving home is professional. If you are out with your children they must be listed on your form.

- Open-air markets will be closed with a few exemptions, notable if the market is a primary source of food supply for an area.

- Travel for health reasons is now only authorised if a medical professional has ordered it or for urgent reasons. Going to the pharmacy for medicines is covered under the purchase of essential goods.

- Funerals limited to a maximum of 20 people.

The changes will begin from tomorrow Tuesday March 24.

The Minister of Health earlier tonight announced that the number of people who have now died of the virus in France since the beginning of the epidemic has risen to 860, including 186 in the last 24 hours. The number of confirmed cases is now 19,856 – 3,176 more in the last day.

Health Minister Olivier Véran said 8,675 people are hospitalised because of Covid-19, 1,435 more in the last day. Among them, 2,082 are in intensive care, 335 more than yesterday.

Four doctors, all aged 60 or above, in eastern France were also reported to have died from the virus today, bringing to five the number of medical personnel who have died from Covid-19 in France. 

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