In a bizarre incident, a French man trying to cross the border over to Spain to buy cigarettes was rescued by a police helicopter in the intermediate Pyrenees mountain range. According to reports, the man was then fined £120 for breaching the COVID-19 restrictions. This comes as France, which is under lockdown has so far reported 98,010 cases and 8,911 deaths.
The anonymous man was first caught on April 4 when he was trying to drive 20 miles from Perpignan on the French Mediterranean coast to the Spanish village of La Jonquera in Catalonia, where cigarettes were considerably cheaper. The police had sent him back to his home after he was intercepted at a checkpoint.
However, undeterred by the situation, he then attempted an on-foot journey over a hiking path across the Pyrenees mountains before he was caught again. According to reports, the man got lost and fell into a creek after which he contacted the rescue officials. According to reports, he was airlifted during the nightfall of April 4 to a secure facility after which he was given a fine of £120 for “non-compliance with strict lockdown measures.” Terming the man as an "exhausted, very cold and lost" individual, the rescue officials revealed that he wanted to return to La Jonquera after his rescue.
This comes as businesses across France have been severely affected as the country remains under lockdown. On April 6, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned a Senate panel that the country was likely to see its deepest recession since World War II due to the pandemic. Le Maire said that France witnessed the worst recession since WWII during the global financial crisis of 2008 when the country’s growth slumped to -2.2 per cent.
Le Maire told the panel that France will probably witness a growth rate way beyond -2.2 per cent, indicating the amplitude of economic shock due to the pandemic. France announced a nationwide stay-at-home order on March 17 in order to contain the coronavirus but the outbreak has spiralled out since then with nearly 93,000 overall cases and 8,078 deaths in the country.