Coronavirus: France to close all schools, colleges and universities

12 March 2020, 19:22

President Emmanuel Macron has announced schools will close
President Emmanuel Macron has announced all schools will close. Picture: Getty

By Tobi Akingbade

France will close all schools, colleges and universities, President Emmanuel Macron has announced.

Speaking in a televised address on Thursday evening, Macron said the measures would be implemented from Monday following a spike in confirmed cases of the deadly virus.

"It is one of the most serious health crises France has ever faced," he said.

There have been more than 2,200 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in France, making it the seventh worst-affected country in the world.

The majority of cases remain active, with the death toll of 61 likely to rise over the coming days.

Mr Macron called on people over the age of 70 and those most vulnerable to avoid contact with other people as much as possible.

He said the French local elections will go ahead - being held over the next two weekends.

This comes as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Britain would not close schools, on Thursday afternoon, while Ireland announced they will closing their schools.

President Emmanuel Macron has announced all schools will close
President Emmanuel Macron has announced all schools will close. Picture: Getty

Referring specifically to school closures, the Mr Johnson said: "The scientific advice is that this could do more harm than good at this time but of course we are keeping this under review."

Chief medical officer Chris Whitty later expanded on the this decision which he said was due to research indicating that children are less affected by the virus.

But, the prime minister added: "Many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time" as the UK battles with "the worst public health crisis of a generation."

He then rejected any comparisons made between COVID-19 and the seasonal flu, saying the former was "more dangerous" due to a lack of immunity.

The measures are likely to expand in the next few weeks, Mr Johnson added, which could include isolating entire households should one person exhibit symptoms.

France Faces The Coronavirus
France Faces The Coronavirus. Picture: Getty

It could also include social distancing from the vulnerable population and the elderly - the group who are most at risk from the virus.

He said: "I want to signal now that this is coming down the track."

The delay strategy seeks to slow down transmission of COVID-19 between people in order to reduce the amount of pressure already being placed on the NHS, and to buy more time to find a vaccination.

Delaying the virus spread could also push the peak of cases into summer months, when viruses are often less contagious and the NHS is under less pressure.

The UK has so far recorded 590 cases of the virus with ten deaths, however the number of cases not yet identified is expected to be much higher.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, said the UK could have between 5,000 and 10,000 infected at this current time.

He said this estimation was based on the calculation of the disease trajectory that showed the UK is four weeks behind Italy and other countries in Europe.

"This is still a relatively small number," he added.

Globally, more than 127,000 people have tested positive, while more than 4,700 people have lost their lives.

The majority of cases and deaths have been recorded in China, with Italy and Iran being the second and third worst-hit countries respectively.

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Australia Church Stabbing

Knife attack against bishop and priest being treated as terrorism, police say

Inside the health retreat in Australia

Suspected 'mushroom' drink poisoning at Australian health retreat as woman dies and two others are rushed to hospital

Greece Olympics Paris Flame Lighting

Paris Olympics flame to be lit at Greek cradle of ancient games

Trump Hush Money

Trump to return to court after first day of trial ends with no jurors picked

The attacker is 15, police say

Sydney church stabbing declared a terror attack ‘motivated by religious extremism’ - as teenage boy arrested

Indonesia Landslide

Bodies of final victims recovered after Indonesia landslides that killed 20

The family moved from Bedfordshire to Portugal in 2016

Brit family hounded out of Portugal told their situation 'wasn't desperate enough' for help after returning to UK

Trump Hush Money

First day of Trump hush-money trial ends without any jurors being picked

Mideast Tensions Key Events

Military chief says Israel will respond to Iran’s missile strike

Baldwin Set Shooting

Rust armourer jailed after fatal film set shooting of cinematographer

The former president was seen departing Trump Tower in the direction of the Manhattan Courthouse on Monday morning, where the historic criminal trial is set to commence.

Supreme Court showdown: Trump labels hush-money trial 'an assault on America' during first day of proceedings

Pakistan flooding

Lightning and rains kills dozens people in Pakistan

Trump Hush Money

Potential jurors called into courtroom for start of Trump’s hush money trial


Ship that caused Baltimore bridge collapse ‘had apparent electrical issues’

Trump-Hush Money

Prosecutors seek Trump fine over social media posts they say violate gag order

France Sudan Conference

World donors pledge more than two billion euros in aid for war-stricken Sudan