By Lisa Burgess •
Published: 16 Mar 2020 • 11:15
Eiffel Tower is now open to the public in the French capital.
Credit - Twitter
France’s Health Chief today, Jerome Salomon, has said the COVID-19 outbreak is “very worrying” and “deteriorating very fast and that the number of cases doubles every three days”.
“There is a real worry that the speed of the outbreak could saturate hospitals and this is something we absolutely want to avoid,” Salomon said, singling out the badly affected eastern region of Alsace near Germany and the greater Paris area.
According to the latest figures from the Worldometer today France shows 5,423 coronavirus cases and 127 deaths with 400 patients in critical condition. Other countries aren’t faring so well today including Estonia with 34 new cases, Pakistan with 41 new cases, Israel with 37 new cases and 74 new cases in South Korea.
The Journal Du Dimanche newspaper reported on Sunday that two French regions, which include Paris, are set to go on full lockdown this week. Sources told them that the army could be drafted in to ensure restrictions on movement.
The defense council is scheduled to meet today at 6 pm at the Élysée Palace with President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. An announcement about the lockdown is expected to follow.
This meeting comes after many Parisians ignored all warnings and took advantage of Sunday’s sunshine to spend the day in groups. Pictures on social media captured people gathering for picnics in parks and on the banks of canals and browsing crowded markets.
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