Parisians crowded the city’s rail stations and took to the highway early Tuesday to flee the French capital before a lockdown introduced to slow the speed of coronavirus contagion kicked in at midday.
The mass Paris departure attracted dismay from provincial France, where many fear that city-dwellers will bring the coronavirus with them and speed up its spread.
Health Minister Olivier Veran stated the government had no intention of preventing individuals from traveling to secondary residences; however, he stated the strict limitations on public life would apply on the coast as they might in the city.
At Paris’ Gare du Nord, passengers, many wearing masks, stared up at departure boards.
France’s death tally from the coronavirus has hit 148 and a total of 6,600 people have been confirmed infected.
President Emmanuel Macron Monday stated the nation “was at war” with coronavirus and introduced constraints unprecedented in post-war France.
He ordered people to stay at home from Tuesday lunchtime. He stated they need to leave to purchase groceries, travel to work if necessary, exercise, or for medical care. The army shall be mobilized to help transfer the sick to hospitals, he stated.
Junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said services of the high-speed intercity TGV trains could be reduced under the lockdown to help contain the spread.