Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: French authorities announce closure of cafes, restaurants, and shops starting 0001 March 14 to stem spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects France

This alert began 14 Mar 2020 20:13 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Business Closures
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Start Time/Date: 0001 March 14
  • Impact: Business closures, travel restrictions, ban on large social gatherings

Summary
French authorities announced a series of preventive measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), March 14. Cafes, restaurants, shops, and movie theaters will be closed starting at 0001 March 14 until further notice. The new measures do not affect grocery stores, fuel stations, banks, and pharmacies. While there have not been any measures impacting public transport, authorities have asked the public to limit its use.

Additional preventive measures and business disruptions remain likely in the coming days and weeks. As of March 14, there are 4,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Background and Analysis
On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. This shift in posture from an earlier briefing indicating the WHO would no longer use the term "pandemic" to describe disease transmission is reflective of the current COVID-19 global impact. The March 11 statement specifically noted "Describing the situation as pandemic does not change WHO's assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It does not change what WHO is doing, and it does not change what countries should do."

The US CDC maintains an "Alert-Level 2" travel health notice for the global COVID-19 outbreak. This indicates older individuals and those with chronic medical conditions or otherwise compromised immunity should take special precautions to avoid becoming ill, especially where sustained community transmission of COVID-19 has been identified.

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.

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.

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.