France Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer on March 3 reportedly said that the authorities have closed almost 120 schools in areas that have reported the largest numbers of coronavirus infections. According to international media reports, both primary and secondary schools have been shut in the Oise department north of Paris as the main cluster of French cases had emerged in the area. So far, France has reported 191 coronavirus cases and three deaths in total.
As per a French local media outlet, the Oise closures affects approximately 35,000 people. Additional 9,000 people have also been told to stay in the Morbihan department of Brittany on the Atlantic coast. Furthermore, a class of around 20 students have also been suspended in Montreuil after a person was tested positive for the deadly virus.
The authorities reportedly said that the Oise schools will remain closed until further notice. According to reports, the schools have also halted class trips outside the country and also prohibited any gathering of more than 5,000 people in enclosed spaces. Several events have also been called off in a bid to contain the outbreak.
Last week, the French finance minister also said that the new coronavirus is a 'game-changer' that will require a rethink of global supply networks, especially in the health, medicine and auto industries. He further also said that the outbreak has further highlighted an 'irresponsible and unreasonable' reliance on China. Furthermore, the minister added that the virus would also affect global and European growth and have an impact on travel.
Governments worldwide have stepped up efforts to halt the spread of the virus. France's neighbouring country Switzerland has banned events that expected to draw more than 1,000 people. Italy, which is experiencing Europe's worst outbreak, has ordered schools and universities to stay closed for a second consecutive week. According to reports, more than 700 tourists also remain quarantined at a hotel in the Canary Islands.
First detected in the city of Wuhan, in Hubei Province of China, the virus outbreak has now spread across more than 60 countries since December 2019. The total number of confirmed cases within China has reportedly hit 80,152 and more than 90,000 worldwide. According to reports, the death toll in China has also surpassed 2,900 and the National Health Commission also confirmed more than 126 new cases.