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13.03.2020 Europe

Virus-hit France bans meetings of more than 100 people

LISTEN MAR 13, 2020

The French prime minister has reduced the number of people allowed to congregate to 100, down from the previous official limit of 1,000.

With 2,281 infections reported, and 48 deaths, according to the latest French coronavirus figures, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe this morning drastically reduced the number of people who will be allowed to congregate in public.

The previous limit of 1,000 has now been reset at 100.

"The idea is to slow down the progress of the disease," the prime minister explained, " we want to prevent the virus circulating."

Problem for cinemas, theatres
The head of the French government accepts that the new limit will pose problems for cinemas and theatres.

Asked what impact the 100-person rule will have on, for example, large family gatherings such as weddings and funerals, the prime minister insisted that the government's aim is "to protect the health of the French under all circumstances, but also to ensure that normal national life can continue."

It is not yet clear if the French parliament and senate will continue to function normally.

Municipal elections to go ahead
Edouard Philippe also defended the decision to proceed with next Sunday's first round in the French municipal elections. "We have listened to the best scientific advice," the prime minister said, "and we have decided that the two rounds of the election can be organised successfully."

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