Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: French authorities extend nationwide lockdown through at least May 11 to stem spread of coronavirus. Businesses and borders closed.

This alert affects France

This alert began 13 Apr 2020 22:21 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 11
  • Impact: Movement and travel restrictions, business closures

Summary
French authorities announced April 13 that they were extending the existing nationwide lockdown through at least May 11 to help stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), adding that kindergartens, schools, and universities will likely progressively open from May 11. The measure continues to require residents to remain in their homes except to perform essential tasks. Additionally, France's land borders with other Schengen Area nations will remain closed. Previously, President Emmanuel Macron ordered the closure of multiple businesses nationwide, including cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, and movie theaters; establishments such as grocery stores, fueling stations, banks, and pharmacies are exempt from the closure order.

Other measures by the French government include:

  • Ban on unnecessary travel
  • Suspension of demonstrations, gatherings, and public or private events of any type (including cultural, sporting, recreational, or religious activities); suspension of discotheque and nightspot operations
  • Closure of resorts, swimming pools, and gyms
  • Closure of museums and other cultural sites
  • Closure of all schools at all levels and suspension of classes and school activities, including professional and university courses, except distance learning classes and medical or healthcare training


Authorities could impose additional requirements and restrictions, or extend the lockdown further based on disease activity throughout the country.

Background and Analysis
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int