Joining other countries, regions, and territories around the world in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, France will begin a 15-day country-wide lockdown of all non-essential functions starting at noon on March 17.

Emmanuel Macron, the 42-year-old President of France, announced the measures on March 16, giving citizens less than 24 hours to prepare for a non-public life for at least two weeks.

While open transportation won’t reduce to zero, even family and social gatherings will be restricted. Everyone is being asked to stay home for at least the next 15 days. Citizens would only be able to leave their homes on an emergency basis, with violators of the new rules being “punished.”

Writer Summer Brennan later clarified her original comment, saying that France’s official stance was that outdoor walks will be allowed, but not unless necessary and never with the intentions of meeting another person.

France follows in the footsteps of Italy, China, and other regions affected by the spread of the coronavirus.

With millions of citizens out of jobs, and therefore, the means to pay their bills, the European country will suspend all gas, electricity, water, and rent payments during the crisis.

France is a country of 66.99 million people, per 2019 estimates. The nation currently has 5,423 confirmed cases, the 7th-most of any country in the world. As always, the actual number of people infected in the country is much higher, as confirmed cases can only come from extensive testing, even of individuals who may not feel ill.

Italy, with 27,980 cases and counting, has been on lockdown since March 9, yet still sees cases increase exponentially by the day. Italy’s population of 60.48 million is comparable to that of France.

The United States of America has at least 327.2 million people within its borders. It will be interesting to see if a partial or full lockdown comes to the 3rd-most populous country in the world.

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Header Photo Credit: Getty Images

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