France closes all cafes, restaurants, cinemas, discotheques, non-essential shops
Published: Mar 15, 2020 04:08 AM

People are seen outside the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, March 2, 2020. The Louvre Museum in Paris was closed for a second day running on Monday due to the spreading coronavirus epidemic. Photo:Xinhua

In order to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, all cafes, restaurants, cinemas, discotheques as well as non-essential shops in France will be closed from Saturday midnight until further notice, announced French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

The essential shops, food stores, pharmacies and banks will remain open. Public transport will continue to operate but will adapt to the situation, said the prime minister.

"We notice an acceleration of the spread of the virus, and a rapid increase in the number of people in intensive care. We observe that the first measures taken are not perfectly applied" by the French people, he lamented, recalling that the best way to slow down the epidemic is to respect the "social distance" recommended by health experts.

By Saturday, France confirmed 4,500 cases of coronavrius infection and 91 deaths, said Director-General of Health Jerome Salomon, adding that some 300 patients are hospitalized in intensive care.