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France orders non-essential public places to close

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A woman wearing a face mask passes by the Eiffel Tower, 14 March

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EPA

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The Eiffel Tower is closed

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has ordered the closure of all non-essential public locations from midnight (23:00 GMT Saturday) in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The measure applies to restaurants, cafes, cinemas and discos, as well as non-essential businesses.

Mr Philippe also called on French people to reduce their travel, especially between towns.

France reported a sharp rise in cases on Saturday, from 3,661 to 4,499.

It recorded 12 more deaths, bringing the toll to 79.

Spain is poised to declare a 15-day national lockdown on Monday to battle the virus, following similar measures by Italy earlier this week.

And the US is to extend its European coronavirus travel ban to include the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Mr Philippe said the closure did not apply to essential businesses which he listed as food shops, chemists, banks, tobacco shops and petrol stations.


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