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You might have already read in the papers or heard through social media that all European countries have effectively closed their borders. This comes as a necessary measure after the World Health Organization characterized Europe as the new epicenter of the deadly coronavirus known as Covid-19.
UPDATE: On April 28, 2020, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe went to address the Assemblée Nationale. Here is a summary of the address regarding the listing of the lockdown measures:
Changes from May 11
– businesses may start re-opening from May 11, however large commercial centers and restaurants must remain closed
– local business owners can decided on whether or not they’ll require the wearing of masks to enter their shops
– small museums may re-open (details to be specified) but large museums, cinemas, theaters must remain closed
– daycare centers and elementary schools can start re-opening
Conditions on going out from May 11
– a travel certificate or ‘attestation de deplacement’ will no longer be necessary from May 11
– wearing of masks will be mandatory when out in public and on public transport
– travel within 100km of your residence will be allowed
– travel beyond 100km may only be allowed for compelling reasons concerning work or family
– gatherings must be limited to 10 people
Restaurants & large gatherings
– no date has been specified on when restaurants, bars, and cafés may start re-opening
– parks and beaches will remain closed until their areas are categorized as ‘green’ which means a low number of cases
– basically, any event that can gather more than 5,000 people will not be possible until September
For the moment, leaving must only be for necessary reasons like buying food or medicine and going to work (for those who cannot work from home). In addition to that, anyone who steps out of their homes must carry an official document. We will be detailing all the rules below.
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Covid-19 statistics in France
While the number of cases and deaths continue to increase daily, Olivier Véran, France’s health minister has confirmed that the number has shown a continuous decline in the last few days which is considered an optimistic sign.
One important statistic is the transmission rate. Currently, the number in France is 0.6 which means that every infected person passes on the virus to less than 1 person. The aim is to keep that number at one or less as the lockdown ends.
As for testing, the health minister added that France is currently testing 150,000 people a week and has a goal of 500,000 a week by May 11th.
Rules on going out
On the evening of March 24, 2020, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe went on TV to address some changes and to clarify on some of the rules of going out which were quite ambiguous to many people.
– Going out must be limited to 1 hour and only once per day.
– On your attestation, you must indicate the time slot that you’ll be outside.
– Going out to buy groceries must be for essentials only. For example, there was news of a woman who got penalized by local police for buying only alcohol as it is not deemed essential.
– All outdoor physical activities should be done within 1km of one’s home.
– Outdoor physical activities must be done alone. For Paris residents, it is not allowed from 10am to 7pm.
– Open-air markets will be closed. This measure follows after people failed to follow the social distancing rules and still crowded markets.
Day 1 of the Paris Lockdown
Here are some photos we took in the morning around different areas in the city before the country-wide lockdown from 12pm of March 17, 2020 was implemented.
Surprisingly, the transport service in Paris still works although you might find that it is a lot emptier than usual.
Some people had the same idea as we did to see the Louvre one more time before going into self-isolation.
While others used this as the opportunity to pick up groceries, medicine, and some reading material for the next 2 weeks. We were glad to see that Parisians have finally grasped the common sense concept of social distancing during this time.
Among essential places that can stay open are these kiosks that sell daily newspapers.
Even the main streets in Paris like Rue de Rivoli look desserted…
You could hear a pin drop in the Opera district which was once something unimaginable.
Restaurants are one of those that have taken the biggest hit in these confinement measures. This Covid-19 pandemic came at the tail-end of the massive transport strikes that began in November 2019.
Commercial establishments like boutiques, department stores, and shops selling things other than food, medicine, or newspapers were also ordered by the French government to shut down.
Of course, we couldn’t end this walk without going to see the Eiffel Tower from Champ de Mars.
It will probably be another few days before we can take more photos of the city. For now, we’re all working from home and staying indoors. This is our way of contributing to help ease the situation for the front-liners who are combatting this deadly disease—the doctors, nurses, fire fighters, police.
This is now the new normal in our beloved city of Paris. But we don’t doubt that soon, when this is all over, Paris will shine even more beautifully. We hope you are safe where you are.
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