Gatherings of over 1,000 people will now be banned in France to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Health Minister Olivier Véran announced on Sunday after a Defense Council at the Elysée Palace lasting more than two hours.
“At the national level, all gatherings of more than 1,000 people are now prohibited. The prefects, the ministries will put together a list of events considered useful for the life of the nation,” he announced on the steps of the Elysée. He said that demonstrations, competitions and the use of public transport would not be affected.
So far, the government has prohibited closed gatherings of more than 5,000 people. A decree made public on Saturday had reduced the duration of the ban to April 15, compared to May 31 initially.
This announcement should have important consequences in the world of sports and entertainment. The authorities are already multiplying the cancellations of events such as the Book Fair, scheduled for March 20 to 23 or the Mondial du tattoo originally scheduled for March 13 to 15 in Paris.
Several sporting events have also been postponed this weekend, including the Ligue 1 Strasbourg-PSG football match scheduled for Saturday, or the women's rugby match between Scotland and France in the Six Nations tournament.
“We are still at stage 2 tonight, that means that our priority is to do everything to slow the circulation of the virus on the national territory,” said the minister.
“The epidemic has not, at this stage, affected the whole country, but it is progressing in certain territories in which viral activity is very dynamic. In other territories, viral activity remains to this day, not or barely detected, “said Véran, while the symbolic bar of 1,000 confirmed cases was crossed Sunday, with an official toll of 1,126 people infected and 19 deaths.
Another measure announced: a relaxation of the conditions for the exercise of telemedicine. “I have decided to lift the obligation to go (upstream) through his attending physician (…) before carrying out a remote consultation,” said the minister, who will sign a decree on Monday to this effect.