France officially entered lockdown at midday Tuesday local time (7 a.m. ET) as part of a number of measures announced by President Emmanuel Macron.

All non-essential outings are outlawed and can draw a fine of up to €135 ($148).

In a televised speech Monday, Macron also promised to support French businesses by guaranteeing €300 billion worth of loans, as well as suspending rent and utility bills owed by small companies.

“No French company, whatever its size, will be exposed to the risk of collapse,” he said.

The French government will also support healthcare staff by paying for hotels, taxis and childcare during the coronavirus crisis, Macron said in a series of tweets following his speech. 

“We owe the care of their children to our healthcare teams: a minimum service has been put in place, from today, in kindergartens and schools,” Macron said.

“We also owe them peace in their travel and rest: this is why, from tomorrow onwards, taxis and hotels can be mobilized for their benefit. The state will pay.”

Macron also said hospital masks will be rationed for healthcare workers.

“We have decided to reserve the masks as a priority for hospitals and for medical personnel in cities and in the countryside, especially for general practitioners and nurses, who are now at the front line of dealing with the crisis,” he said in a tweet.

France joins Italy, which has been under total lockdown since Friday, and Spain, whose 47 million people have been under partial lockdown since Saturday, allowed to leave their homes only to go to work, buy food, or visit a pharmacy or hospital.

Switzerland has also banned all events and closed shops and restaurants from midnight Monday.

Source: CNN

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