PARIS — Many streets in French cities are desolate today as schools, cafes and a range of businesses were shuttered on government orders, as France’s President Emmanuel Macron weighs additional measures to contain a fast-escalating coronavirus outbreak.
While many people work from home to avoid potential germ-spreading encounters or look after their children, others throng supermarkets to stock up on essentials in case of a prolonged lockdown.
France has shuttered non-essential businesses in a bid to curb the spread of the virus that had infected more than 5,000 in the country by Sunday and killed 127 — a jump of 900 cases and 36 deaths in 24 hours.
More than 400 people are in the hospital in serious condition, causing fears of hospitals being overrun.
The country is also limiting long-distance train and plane travel and some domestic public transportation.
Macron’s office and the government deny widely circulating rumors of an imminent curfew and home confinement for all residents, a step already taken by neighbors Spain and Italy.
Macron, who maintained a first round of nationwide municipal elections that took place Sunday despite widespread contagion fear, is discussing additional measures with senior government officials and leaders of Europe and the rest of the G7 nations, the presidency says.
An announcement on EU border control measures would follow “in the coming hours,” the Elysee Palace says, ahead of a televised address this evening.