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France Announces National Lockdown

15-day ban on all but the most essential in-country travel will take effect
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2020 2:53 PM CDT

(Newser) – France is imposing a national lockdown on its citizens for 15 days, reports the Independent. The move, which goes into effect at noon Tuesday, comes after the nation's coronavirus cases escalated dramatically over the weekend, reports the Washington Post. More than 5,000 people are now infected there, and more than 120 have died. Only trips to the supermarket, pharmacies, or work will be allowed, and the government is pushing people to work from home wherever possible. "Never before in history has France had to take such exceptional measures in a time of peace," said President Emmanuel Macron. "You will no longer be able to see your loved ones ... or continue your daily routine."

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Meanwhile, the virus in France is apparently not just hitting the elderly hard. The head of France's national health agency reported over the weekend that more than half of the people in French intensive care units with the virus are under the age of 60, the AP reports. At the time, there were 300 people in ICUs with the virus in the country. The vast majority of deaths from the virus in the country (71 of the, at the time, 91) were people over age 75, the official said; currently, the death toll is at 127 after officials announced 36 new deaths in one day. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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