French President Macron to address the nation on Monday evening

French President Macron to address the nation on Monday evening
French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: AFP
Emmanuel Macron will announce the government's latest measures to deal with the coronavirus epidemic in a televised speech on Monday evening. (Paywall free)

The speech will come as France grapples with the government's new and stringent measures to stem the coronavirus spread in the country, with schools, cafés and restaurants all closed.

A special 'Defence Council' will be meeting on Monday to consult on what steps the state should take next to tackle the escalating health crisis.

The council will gather the president, prime minister, top military adviser, intelligence coordinator and ministers of health, the interior and foreign affairs.

French media have widely reported that the government would announce confinement measures and curfews for the whole country to come into force on Monday or Tuesday.

On Monday morning government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye described the reports of a curfew as “fake news”.

But she added: “We are examining all the useful measures to get people to change their behaviour.”

Ndiaye added that those measures would be discussed and based on the current outlook of the epidemic.

Santé Publique France reported 127 coronavirus linked deaths on Sunday evening and over 5,400 confirmed cases of the virus. 

You can find the latest information on the coronavirus situation in France here.

All French health authorities have pushed the same message over the past days: the country must slow down the spread of the coronavirus in order to avoid a situation similar to that of its neighbour Italy, where hospitals have been overwhelmed with the number of serious cases over the past weeks.

France this weekend ordered the closing of all “non-essential commercial activity” and urged all citizens to limit long-distance travel “to the strictly necessary.”

READ MORE: What's closed (and what's open) in France following the new coronavirus restrictions

Macron was also due to hold talks Monday with EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel to discuss possibly boosting the outer borders of Europe's visa-free Schengen area.

He will also take part in a video conference of G7 leaders on the coronavirus Monday afternoon.

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