100,000 policemen assigned to monitor lockdown as coronavirus spreads
France will deploy 100,000 policemen and gendarmes across the country to ensure that the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 is respected. Travel documents are needed to justify drastically limited movements.
"We are applying the strictest measures enforced in Europe," the French Interior minister said on Tuesday.
Travel across France is limited to what is strictly needed and people will have to fill in a travel document available on the website of the French Interior ministry in order to justify their movements. There are five possible exceptions.
Travel is allowed for:
Those that need to travel for work when working from home is not possible
To buy essentials in a list of government-approved shops
For health reasons
For family reasons, to take care of children and vulnerable people
For some physical activity close to home and walking dogs.
Travel docs or fines imposed
The interior minister said that around 100,000 policemen and gendarmes will be deployed across the country to ensure that the recommendations to contain the alarming spread of coronavirus in France is respected.
They will man fixed and mobile check points, which means that people may be randomly stopped to explain what they are doing outdoors.
People in France will need to produce the travel document which may be written down on paper for those who do not have a printer.
A new travel document is needed each time people have to go outdoors. Journalists are allowed to use their press cards to move around.
#CORONAVIRUS | Pour chaque sortie, chaque personne devra disposer d’une attestation sur l’honneur indiquant son identité, son adresse et les raisons de son déplacement.— Christophe Castaner (@CCastaner) March 17, 2020
📃⬇️Un formulaire a été mis en ligne cette nuit.https://t.co/DATZdLD74d pic.twitter.com/gRLSZWpLlF
Fines from €38 euros and up to €135 will be imposed on people who do not respect the rules outlined under the lockdown.
Castaner insisted that the idea is not to sanction people but to ensure that the French public demonstrates "a sense of responsibility and civic duty" while facing the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Stay at home
The #ResterChezVous or stay at home instruction means that public gatherings are banned, including team sports. Castaner explained that picnics are to be excluded as are “meeting friends or family”.
Leisure activities and tourism-related trips are to be suspended, he added.
“I understand that these are sacrifices”, Castaner said, “but I’m sure we all understand we need to endure them because our lives, your lives and those dear to you are at stake here.”
Europe borders closed
France, in accordance with the European Union (EU), has decided to close its borders to all non-Europeans and non-Schengen members. This for the next 30 days. People with a valid visa may be allowed within the EU.
Citizens of the United Kingdom will be able to travel within the EU zone. Castaner said that travelling within the EU will be limited to what is strictly essential.
“I want to insist, we are not closing down all our borders,” he added. “People who regularly work in neighbouring countries will be allowed to do. And transport of basic goods and health supplies are not banned. So, there is no need to panic.”
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