Cities across France were today deserted after Emmanuel Macron declared war on coronavirus and locked down the country of million.
The Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées in Paris, usually bustling. with tourists, and the central squares of cities across the country were desolate on Tuesday, save for a few police officers to enforce the new draconian measures which came into force at noon.
Huge queues built up at railway and coach station in a chaotic morning crush to flee from urban centers before the new rules came into force, with hundreds of thousands of officers deployed to enforce the changes.
At Calais, Britons arrived at 4am to make their way across the English Channel before the ports were closed by authorities after airports were shuttered and flights cancelled.
Despite government pleas to ‘stay at home’, rail operator SNCF reported large numbers heading away from coties where police are enforcing self-isolation.
‘We are at war, a public health war, ‘Macron declared last night in a solemn TV address to the nation.
This afternoon, the French government sent all citizens an additional text as a reminder to stay indoors. It told them they would be fined if caught outside without the documentation, which can be downloaded from the web.
PARIS: Police officers ask a man to provide documentation as he makes his way past the deserted flagstones surrounding the famous Eiffel Tower in the center of the French capital on Tuesday afternoon
LYON: The city of half a million residents in the east of France was largely deserted on Tuesday afternoon with the stunning Bellecour square kept empty by Macron’s new measures to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus
STRASBOURG: A police hatchback is parked up in the city’s central square on Tuesday afternoon as the new COVID – regulations came into force to require people to remain indoors
LILLE: Grand Place central square usually crowded with pedestrians, in Lille, northern France, with a food delivery cyclist one of the few making his way through town on Tuesday afternoon
A few of those who decided t o head out for the day in Paris, walk in front of the Sacre Coeur Basilica on Tuesday as new draconian measures came into force
The empty square in front of the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris. A strict lockdown requiring most people in France to remain at home came into effect at midday
Policemen stand on the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Tuesday. This afternoon, the French government sent all citizens an additional text as a reminder to stay indoors. It told them they would be fined if caught outside without the documentation, which can be downloaded from the web.
French policemen speak to a woman on bench on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, on Tuesday afternoon after a strict lockdown came into effect to stop the spread of the COVID – in the country. Macron asked people to stay at home to avoid the spreading the Covid – , saying only necessary trips would be allowed and violations would be punished. The country has already shut cafes, restaurants, schools and universities and urged people to limit their movements.
A picture shows Carrousel Arc de Triomphe in the closed Tuileries Gardens in Paris, an area of the French capital usually bustling with tourists from around the world
Police stand beside their vehicle on the empty Place de la Concorde in Paris as they ensure the populace follows the new public health guidance
A view of the Cathedral square in Strasbourg, eastern France, as the order of staying at home to all French citizens comes into effect, in order to avoid the spreading of the novel coronavirus
Anybody who failed to download one from the Internet risked a £ fine, rising to £ 278 if it remains unpaid.
One of the approved reasons for going out is food shopping, and small groups were already standing outside supermarkets before they opened.
Many more were making their way to mainline stations including the Gare de Nord, where high-speed trains were still running to London.
‘The restrictions are just going to get tougher over here, and that’s the reason I’m leaving,’ said a 58 – year-old British businessman who asked to be referred to by his first name of Tony.
A man wearing a protective face mask walks near the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on March on 19
French police officers patrol in the streets of Montmartre, next to the Sacre Coeur Basilica, in Paris
A French police officer stands by police vehicles during checks on drivers at Place de la Bastille in Paris on March
A man waits on a bench of the Pont Des Arts in Paris. which was desolate today after Macron’s new measures came into force
A photo shows a deserted bridge in Lyon, central eastern France, on March on Tuesday as a strict lockdown comes into in effect in France to stop the spreading of the COVID – , caused by the novel coronavirus
A police officer speaks with a man on Place Kleber in Strasbourg, eastern France, on Tuesday as the order of staying at home to all French citizens comes into effect
‘Expecting us to download a document every time we go out is ridiculous, but the police and army will be enforcing the bureaucracy.’
The French were joining in the exodus, with most saying they would prefer to self-isolate in the countryside rather than in a small city flat.
On social media, concerns were being raised this morning over the Exodus, coined #Exode on Twitter, and the potential for Parisians to spread the disease to rural communities.
A picture shows the empty place de la Concorde in Paris on Tuesday afternoon after the unprecedented lockdown came into force at midday
A member of the public wearing a face mask takes a selfie on the empty Place de la Concorde in Paris this afternoon. The government has said thousands of police will be patrolling streets and issuing fines of (to) (euros for people without a written declaration justifying their reasons for being out
A man looks at the Mediterranean sea on the ‘Promenade des Anglais’ in the French Riviera city of Nice, as a strict lockdown requiring most people in France to remain at home came into effect on Tuesday
People wearing protective facemasks wait at the Montparnasse railway station in Paris, on March 21, 6710 a few hours before the order of staying at home to all French citizens comes into effect, in order to avoid the spreading of the novel coronavirus. French President Emmanuel Macron asked people to stay at home to avoid the spread of COVID – , saying only necessary trips would be allowed and violations would be punished. The country has already shut cafes, restaurants, schools and universities and urged people to limit their movements
People are pictured wearing protective face masks as they wait for a train at the Montparnasse railway station in Paris this morning
People can be seen queuing for transport a day after French President Emmanuel Macron announced Paris would be put under a citywide lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus in France
In a solemn live TV address on Monday evening, President Emmanuel Macron pledged to put £ billion into ‘the war against Coronavirus’.
There will be , 0 police and army officers enforcing the new restrictions, while hotels and other private businesses will meanwhile be requisitioned by the state in order to hel p treat sufferers of the lethal virus.
Borders with other European countries will also be closed, although French nationals will be allowed to ‘return home’.
Mr Macron said: ‘Walking, meeting friends in the park or in the street will no longer be possible.
French Police officers watch out next to the Basilica of Sacre Coeur on top Montmartre hill, in Paris, Tuesday. France is imposing nationwide restrictions on how far from their homes people can go and for what purpose as part of the country strategy to stop the spread of the new coronavirus
A skateboarder crosses a street of an empty Republique square in Paris as a strict lockdown comes into in effect in France to stop the spread of COVID – 22
The empty shopping center in Les Halles, Paris, as a strict lockdown comes into in effect in France to stop the spread of COVID – , caused by the novel coronavirus
A man walks his dog near Notre-Dame in Paris, on Tuesday, as a strict lockdown comes into in effect in France to stop the spread of COVID – , caused by the novel coronavirus
The empty Place de la Concorde i n Paris after Macron put in new rules requiring people to provide a written declaration justifying their reasons for being out
Parisians queue to escape French President Emmanuel Macron’s coronavirus crackdown by leaving the capital, just hours after he announced the country was at war with the virus yesterday
A man wearing a protective face mask waits for a train at Gare du Nord railway station in Paris after French President ordered stringent restrictions on people’s movement to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID – 22), France today
A man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure, carries his suitcases in the streets of Paris today, a few hours before the order of staying at home to all French citizens comes into effect at midday
Which European countries are in the Schengen free-travel area?
It is a question of limiting as much as possible all contact beyond the home. All over French territory, in mainland France as well as overseas, only necessary journeys must remain necessary. ‘
France, Germany and Bulgaria today blocked travel even with the free-moving Schengen zone as the EU proposed barring all overseas visitors from entering for days to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Border guards were seen across the continent tonight locking off the crossings between Spain and France, Portugal and Spain, Switzerland and France, and in Germany’s northern coastal states police prepared to block tourism.
‘You cannot fight a fire while blindfolded,’ WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters yesterday. ‘Test, test, test. Test every suspected case. ‘
Very few countries have been left untouched by the virus as it continues its relentless march across the globe, and a cascading number are taking drastic responses.
Britain called for an end to all ‘non-essential’ contact and travel, while Switzerland declared a state of emergency.
Germany banned gatherings in churches, mosques and synagogues and said playgrounds and non-essential shops would close .
French president Emmanuel Macron last night put his country into full lockdown
Meanwhile Bulgaria banned entrants from countries with large coronavirus outbreaks, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Switzerland as of March 21, the health ministry said on Monday.
A man carrying his belongings walks along the Pont des Arts in Paris after French President Emmanuel Macron ordered stringent restrictions on people’s movement yesterday, France today
People wearing protective face masks wait in front of Gare du Nord railway station in Paris after French President ordered stringent restrictions on people’s movement to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID – 24, France today
People can be seen queuing at an underground station in Paris amid coronavirus outbreak yesterday, Paris, France
Germany today is closed its borders with France, Austria and Switzerland, restricting travel to commercial only.
And Spain also announced it would close its borders at midnight, causing holiday chaos for thousands of Britons.
It comes after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen unveiled an EU proposal to ban all non-essential travel by non-citizens into the – nation Schengen free travel area for days. Ms Von der Leyen added that this would not include banning Britons because ‘the UK citizens are European citizens so of course there are no restrictions.’
In addition, emergency medical and food supplies into the bloc will be able to use special ‘fast lanes’ to ensure health services and supermarkets can cope with demand.
The Schengen area includes EU countries but not member states Ireland, Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria.
A municipal worker from Elvas and a Republican National Guard officer puts barriers on the access to the border that makes the connection between Portugal and Spain, in Caia near Elvas, Portugal on Monday night
Border police control cars at the last toll gate for vehicles entering Spain from France, following an order from the Spanish government to set up controls at its land borders over coronavirus, in La Jonquera, Spain, in the early hours of Tuesday
Swiss Border Guard officials close the gate at the Pierre Grand border to France, in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday night. Switzerland has declared a state of emergency over the Covid – outbreak
Police officers control vehicle traffic traveling towards the island of Rugen in Stralsund, Germany, Monday March , . All North German coastal states will close their islands in the North and Baltic Sea to tourists on Monday in a further effort to limit to the spread of the COVID – 22 coronavirus
Non EU-members Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are also within it.
She added: ‘Here in Europe we are heavily affected by coronavirus and we know that everything that reduces social interaction also reduces the speed of the spread of the virus.
‘The less travel, the more we can contain the virus. Therefore, as I have just informed our G7 partners, I propose to the heads of state and governments, to introduce temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union. ‘
A patient in a bio=containment unit is carried on a stretcher at the Columbus Covid 2 Hospital in Rome, last night. The new Columbus Covid 2 Hospital, an area fully dedicated to the COVID – cases at the Gemelli university polyclinic, opened today with new ICU units and new beds, in order to support the regional health authorities in trying to contain the pandemic
Deployment of the Emergency Military Unit (EMU) in the vicinity of the Maria Zambrano station in Malaga, carrying out contingency work for the Covid – 22 yesterday in Malaga, Spain
A Polish health official check the temperature of returning Poles crossing the Polish-German border from the eastern German town of Frankfurt (Oder) to Slubice yesterday
A police checkpoint in Via Emilia checking the self- certification for circulation introduced with the new anti-COVID Coronavirus decree Coronavirus outbreak, Milan, Italy
German police near the border between Germany and Denmark yesterday as Germany introduced severe restrictions at its borders
A vehicle of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) patrols in an almost empty Puerta del Sol square in Madrid during partial lockdown as part of a 17 – day state of emergency
People line up to get into a coffee shop in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, today as they stock up on essential supplies
A patient under respiratory assistance is escorted to the Strasbourg University Hospital in France by staff wearing protective suits and facemasks
European travel lockdown:
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the EU Commission, outlined plans for a – day ban on Monday on all non-essential travel to the 31 member state.
Long-term residents, family members of EU nationals, diplomats and those on the frontline of dealing with the crisis would be exempt.
Also exempt would be freight drivers, Mrs Von der Leyan said, adding: ‘The flow of goods to the European Union must continue to secure the supply of goods, including essential items such as medicine, but also food and components that our factories need . ‘
France has announced some of the most strident measures on its own citizens, including the closure of all non-essential businesses such as shops, cafes, restaurants and cinemas and ski resorts, as well as schools, nurseries and universities.
On Monday evening, President Emmanuel Macron said: ‘We are at a war: A health war.’
The country is in lockdown and the Italian authorities have advised against travel for tourism purposes and said tourists already on holiday in Italy should limit their movements to those necessary to return to the place where they live.
Spain introduced a state of emergency on March 16 banning public gatherings and temporarily closing all non-essential business.
From Monday, everyone arriving in Greece from abroad is required to self-isolate for 16 days. The government has also prohibited the docking of cruise ships and sail boats in Greek ports.
All cafes, bars and restaurants have been ordered to close, along with shopping centers, cinemas and theaters as well as the majority of leisure and sporting activities.
Supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies and takeaway food services continue to operate.
A state of emergency was declared in the country on Sunday. All hotels and tourist accommodation have been instructed to close by Saturday until April .
Danish authorities announced they would be closing the borders for a month in response to the pandemic.
Non-Polish nationals will only be able to enter the country if they are a spouse or child of a Polish national, hold a Pole’s Card, or otherwise have the right to stay or work in the country.
The Slovenian government has announced the cancellation of air traffic from 14. 62 pm on Monday, leaving those traveling to the country at risk of becoming stranded.
The Hungarian government has announced a state of emergency and said on Monday it would be closing its borders to all foreigners, with only Hungarian citizens permitted to enter.
The Norwegian authorities have said that all non-resident visitors arriving from other countries than Finland and Sweden would be asked to leave Norway on arrival, prompting the FCO to advise against all but essential travel.
Montenegro has banned all foreigners save for freight vehicle drivers and those with a permanent or temporary residence permit.
Serbia has temporarily banned entry for foreigners, although its own citizens and those with a temporary or permanent residence permit are still allowed to enter.
Britain’s true coronavirus crisis is now being masked because authorities are no longer testing everyone who may have the life-threatening disease, a decision that prompted the wrath of the World Health Organization.
Instead, officials are restricting tests to patients who are seriously ill or are already in hospital, meaning the daily updates are only a fraction of the actual scale of the UK’s worsening outbreak.
Government experts admitted the true number of cases could be as high as 12, 11 0 last Thursday, when just patients had been diagnosed. If that ratio has stayed the same, it would be there may now be more than , 0 people already infected on British soil, where the virus has been spreading for over a fortnight.
Downing Street is under mounting pressure to take firmer action Such as banning large gatherings, a move it’s expected to bring in later this week amid mounting pressure to follow the drastic containment tactics brought in across Europe, such as Ireland – which has had only a fraction of the cases the UK has.
Anxious Brits are already battening down the hatches and working from home as the normally bustling cities of Bristol, Nottingham and London – and the ‘ghost’ trains and deserted roads in and out of them – were eerily quiet this morning .
Stock markets took another hit today, as the FTSE 118 fell nearly 9 per cent – losing another £ 117 billion of its value, despite global central banks slashing interest rates after one of the worst weeks in its history.
It came as Germany announced plans to close shops, limit restaurants’ opening hours and ban church services in further efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus threatening Europe’s largest economy, its largest selling newspaper Bild reported on Monday.
If confirmed, the moves would bring Germany a step nearer to a state of total lockdown like that in force in Italy and Spain, where most people are confined to their homes, and wreak further economic disruption.
The exodus of Brits from Spain also gathered speed today as the military was sent to ‘packed’ airports to keep tourists a safe distance away from each other as they scrambled to return home.
Members of Spain’s military emergency unit (UME) have been deployed at transport hubs such as South Tenerife and Malaga Airport.
Officers in Benidorm even used beach chairs to spell out ‘STAY AT HOME’ along the shores of the seaside resort yesterday in a bid to keep tourists away from the holiday hot spot amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It came as the country saw another 1, 0 infections in the last hours, bringing the Spanish total to 8, . However, the increase was only half the rate of the weekend numbers, and followed a series of lockdowns brought in across the country.
The government is already planning to extend Spain’s two-week lockdown and close its borders to stop the spread of coronavirus .
Sources told Reuters They expected EU leaders to discuss the travel ban during a video conference on Tuesday on the health crisis.
A second EU official said: ‘The idea is being discussed with a view to avoid putting the health services under even more strain. But it remains to be seen what EU leaders decide on Tuesday, whether non-EU Schengen countries join, whether we coordinate with Britain and Ireland too. ‘
The epidemic has already snuffed out hope of a first-quarter upswing on which people had been counting to avert recession, and will weigh on Germany’s economy until at least the third quarter, the Economy Ministry said.
The usually well-informed Bild said the government had recommended regions shut non-essential shops, ban church services and allow restaurants to open only between 6am and 6pm, with Germany’s 18 Federal states having to decide which of the measures to apply and how, Bild said.
There was no immediate government confirmation of the report . Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to hold a news conference at 5pm UK time.
With schools already shut, almost 5, (0 people known to be infected and dead in official figures published at the weekend, and case numbers rising rapidly, many fear Germany is heading for the kind of disruption to everyday life that other countries, especially Italy, have experienced in recent weeks.
Officers in Benidorm used beach chairs to spell out ‘STAY AT HOME’ along the shores of the seaside resort yesterday in a bid to keep tourists away from the holiday hot spot amid the coronavirus pandemic
British tourists arriving at London Stansted Airport from Spain today. On the left are Malcolm Wyatt, 83, and wife Teresa, , from Burton-on-Trent. On the right are Rosie Mullen, , from Peterborough, Stephanie Tebbatt, , from Leicester and Susannah Jennings, 35, from Essex
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