The Covid-19 pandemic has led European countries such as France, Spain and Italy to enforce lockdowns to prevent the spreading of the virus.
The French government ramped up its measures on Tuesday 17 March after social distancing advice was ignored.
For the next 15 days, people will have to fill out a form every time they leave their homes (pictured below). Medics are exempt from this.
Citizens must sign and date the form and justify their reasons for being out by ticking one of the following boxes:
- Work that can’t be done from home
- Brief exercise (though no group activities)
- Visits to the doctor or pharmacy
- Imperative family reasons – looking after children and vulnerable relatives
- Food shops
A new form must be filled out for each excursion and carried every time you leave the house – a digital version is also available for those that don’t have a printer.
Today, the government has put in place a fine for unauthorised movements. While the fine starts at €135, it rises to €375 if it is not paid within 45 days of the violation.
Tens of thousands of police will patrol the streets to issue fines for those without the written declaration. This applies to the whole of continental France and the overseas territories of Saint-Barthélémy, Saint-Martin and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.
On Wednesday alone, more than 4,000 people were fined for violating the rules.
Bars, restaurants and nonessential shops have been closed in France since Saturday. Schools were also closed on Monday morning. Paris has since decided to shut all its parks and gardens.
France’s measures follow those of Spain and Italy, who both announced emergency restrictions last week, banning people from leaving home except for buying essential food and medical supplies, or for work.
Belgium similarly closed all schools and non-essential shops at midday today.
French President Emmanuel Macron also announced that “all trips between non-European countries and EU countries will be suspended” during his televised address to the nation on Monday.
This comes after the European Commission (EC) proposed the introduction of a temporary restriction on all non-essential travel to the European Union.
Meanwhile, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised British people against all non-essential international travel, initially for 30 days.