On March 17, President Emmanuel Macron announced a 14-day nationwide lockdown to try and contain the outbreak of COVID-19. With the virus continuing to spread, the Government introduced measures forcing the public to stay close to their homes while open-air markets were also closed on Tuesday. Despite the enforcement of the lockdown, France’s director-general for civil security and crisis management, Alain Thirion revealed there had been 91,824 breaches of the containment measures since Tuesday.
On Sunday, there were also 22,574 warnings issued despite the enforcement of measures to stop non-essential movement.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe said the lockdown could be extended by several weeks in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Mr Philippe also warned a national curfew could be imposed if the violations continue going forward.
He said: “A lot of citizens want normalcy to return, but it’s not happening soon.
Coronavirus: France lockdown measures broken by public
Coronavirus: France has been placed into lockdown
“We feel the lockdown measures we have taken, and which we will toughen yet again, could last several weeks.
“We do not want to put a national curfew in place.
“And we will not hesitate, where necessary, to take tougher measures, meaning curfew measures.”
Under the measures, anyone who refuses to follow the movement restrictions will now face a €3,960 fine (£3,625), an increase from €135 (£123).
Coronavirus: The lockdown measures could be extended
There will also be the threat of a six-month prison term if there are repeated breaches under the country’s emergency health bill.
At the time of writing, there have been 25,233 cases of COVID-19 in the country.
There have been 1,331 deaths in France and such is the crisis, leader of National Rally, Marine Le Pen, insisted a nationwide curfew must be initiated.
She told French news channel, LCI: “The government must impose a national 8pm curfew.
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“The confinement will only work if everyone follows the rules.”
Although the lockdown was initially intended to last for 14 days, there are fears within the country it could be extended to six weeks.
The country’s scientific council said an extension of the containment measures could be carried out as the number of cases continues to rise each day.
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French Health Minister, Olivier Veran said: “The members of the scientific council aren’t able to say with precision if the confinement should be for such a set duration.
“They said, maybe we need to prepare for the confinement to last longer.
“Beyond 15 days we know, but perhaps it could extend past that – another five or six weeks.
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“It will only end when the epidemic curve allows it, this is the basic principle. Confinement has a purpose, to protect the French people.
“It will last as long as it has to last.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.