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Update: France increase response to COVID-19

Further to a ban on all public gatherings of more than 100 people, France increase measures as they start transition into ‘Stage 3’

France has announced the closure of all public places “non-essential” to public life including restaurants, cafes, cinemas and discos from midnight Saturday.

“We must absolutely limit movement, meetings and contacts,” French prime minister Edouard Philippe said on Saturday evening. Food shops, tobacconists, banks and public transport will remain open, he said.

Philippe said the measure was being imposed after another meeting with the country’s scientific committee.

The announcement came as Jérome Salomon, director of the French health authority confirmed that Europe is “the epicentre of the epidemic”.

“In France, we are confronted with the start of a national epidemic with a rapid and intense spread in numerous zones,” Salomon said.

The first round of the municipal elections will go ahead on Sunday.

Image Getty Images

article written using information from France Gov, UK gov and media sources Inc Guardian

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