France goes into lockdown in attempt to halt coronavirus spread

France goes into lockdown in attempt to halt coronavirus spread
Photo: AFP
As of 12 noon on Tuesday, France is officially in lockdown with people ordered to stay at home for at least the next 15 days.

French president Emmanuel Macron announced the measures on Monday night, and they officially took effect at 12 noon on Tuesday, March 17th.

For the next 15 days everyone must stay at home, trips outside the home are only permitted for specific essential activities.

Anyone outside their home will need a form stating their reasons for being out and must stay 1 metre apart from other people.

READ ALSO Coronavirus lockdown form – how it works and where to find it

In the final hours before the lockdown began, people did last-minute shopping, with long queues outside many stores (although food shopping will still be permitted as an essential activity).


Many stores were so busy they were restricting entry and panic-buying seems to have belatedly arrived in France as aisles including pasta, rice, eggs and tinned tomatoes were stripped bare.




Meanwhile many people used the time to get to the place they wanted to wait out the lockdown – particularly in Paris which saw a scramble to leave the capital.

“It's very impressive, it's barely 6.30am and people are running to the trains,” a French reporter said in the clip below from Paris' Montparnasse station.

“They are saying that they want to leave Paris to stay with family or friends in the countryside,” she said, adding that “most of them had started thinking about leaving at the end of it last week.”


Another French journalist also described scenes of what he called “people fleeing Paris” in the Montparnasse train station on Tuesday morning.


“Many young people are going to see their family for the lockdown,” he wrote.

“Many people are carrying big suitcases, a sign that they're not planning on a quick return to the capital.”

Not everyone was happy about what the French newspaper Le Figaro described “an exodus of Parisians” on Tuesday morning.


“Parisians fleeing Paris.. are accelerating the geographic spread of the virus,” this Twitter user said, adding “is this stupidity? Individualism?”

The lockdown had been widely rumoured for some days, with many people heading to the seaside, countryside or the parks over the weekend to enjoy the beautiful weather, conscious that it may be their last trip out for some time.

The lockdown measures are initially in place for 15 days, although this could be extended if the situation changes.

The last few days have also seen a scramble of tourists heading home, as increasing travel restrictions mean that international travel is now very difficult.

READ ALSO What's the latest on travelling to and from France?

Member comments

  1. Carte de Sejo:
    Most people at one point in their lives may get corona, but the reason for these protective measures is to slow down the rate of contagion. By doing so, we can reduce the burden on the health care system. Italy’s medical capacity is on the breaking point, where lack of personnels, ICU space, ventilators, masks, etc. is leading to inadequate care and death. By slowing down this process, more people can get adequate care and the death rate should fall, not to mention society functioning better and economy recovering quicker. Please look into this and make sure you don’t catch/spread it

  2. Some possibilities:- Could it be the case that everyone of us will either be essentially immune or they will (WILL) get this disease sometime. So all this panic behaviour is a waste of time. Those who are susceptible to catching it, will catch it sometime. It is not going to suddenly fly off to another planet. Personally, I would be quite happy to catch it now and have done with it (hopefully). Also having these lock downs for 6 months instead of one, might damage the economy far more. Some answers might be useful. The government’s actions have done little to calm people down and have exacerbated the panic.

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