Coronavirus prompts France to ban gatherings of more than 5,000

Coronavirus prompts France to ban gatherings of more than 5,000

The coronavirus outbreak led France on Saturday to ban “confined” public gatherings of more than 5,000 people.

The ban was announced as the French government reported 16 new coronavirus cases, raising the total of confirmed cases in the country to 73, up from 57 on Friday. Of those, 59 people remain hospitalized, two have died and 12 have recovered, Olivier Veran, the health minister, said after special government meetings on Saturday.

“All public gatherings of more than 5,000 people in a confined space are temporarily banned across France,” Health Minister Olivier Veran said, according to Reuters.

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Tourists, some wearing a mask, queue to enter the Louvre museum Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 in Paris.

Tourists, some wearing a mask, queue to enter the Louvre museum Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 in Paris. (AP)

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The ban cancels Sunday’s half-marathon for 40,000 runners in Paris and the last day of the Agricultural Show, Le Monde reported.

All public gatherings have been prohibited in Oise département, the main epidemic focus, according to the news outlet.

“The virus is spreading, it is a fact,” Veran said after an emergency cabinet meeting, according to Le Monde.

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Five Serie A soccer games, which were going to be played without fans, have been postponed in Italy, which is struggling to contain a rapid spread in cases, Sky News reported.

At the same time, a school official in the German city of Bonn has reportedly tested positive for the virus, forcing around 185 children to be quarantined at home, according to the news outlet.

Meanwhile, in England, three more patients have tested posted for the virus, bringing the total number of cases in the U.K. to 23.

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The viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 85,000 people globally. The United States has 62 cases.

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