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France closes restaurants, clubs & most shops to battle Covid-19

Restaurants, entertainment venues and most shops are to shut down in France from midnight on as the French government is struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 91 people there.

Following an increase of nearly 1,000 cases of coronavirus and 12 new deaths on Saturday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe ordered all non-essential public places to be closed. Philippe also encouraged citizens to limit their travel, especially between cities.

A total of 91 people have died from coronavirus in the country, and Saturday saw confirmed cases rise to 4,499.

Despite the new order, there is no indication French President Emmanuel Macron has changed his stance on shutting down national borders as a preemptive measure against the spread of the virus.

Macron tweeted on Saturday that he had spoken to Italian President Sergio Matterella and said that, when it comes to borders, “we must act quickly and together at a European level.”

Public transportation will remain open to the general population, but Phillippe encouraged citizens to only leave their homes when necessary, for supplies or for work. Phillippe, however, said upcoming local elections on Sunday will go forward “as planned.”

On the same day as the new shutdown orders were issued, hundreds of Yellow Vest demonstrators defied a ban on gatherings of 100 or more people to stage their weekly protests against the French government.