France is “only at the beginning of the epidemic” of coronavirus, which brought the country into its worst sanitary crisis in a century and the government will continue to make all efforts to “slow down” the spread of the virus, said President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday evening.
The coronavirus epidemic “that affects all continents and strikes all European countries is the most serious sanitary crisis that France has experienced in a century,” said Macron in his first televised address to the nation since the outbreak of the virus.
“Across Europe it is intensifying. The priority will be our health. I will not compromise on anything. One principle that guides us to anticipate and manage this crisis is confidence in science and listening to those who know,” he said.
Macron recalled that the “emergency is to protect the most vulnerable”. “I ask everyone over the age of 70 and those suffering from chronic illnesses to stay at home as long as possible,” he said.
From Monday and until further notice, all nurseries, schools, colleges, high schools and universities in the country will be closed, he announced.
For the municipal elections scheduled for March 15 and 22, Macron said “nothing is to prevent the French from going to the polls” and “the public services have organized things well”, adding that people going to polls should strictly respect the barrier gestures.
France reported 2,876 cases of coronavirus infections and 61 deaths as of Thursday. A total of 129 people are now hospitalized in intensive care, according to the latest assessment released by the Ministry of Health.
Source: Xinhua – PARIS