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Citing defiant ‘idiots,” France says it may have to extend 15-day coronavirus lockdown to 4 weeks

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Defiance is proving to be a significant obstacle in the efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus from China, and that’s not just limited to the United States.

Not accustomed to having so many restrictions placed upon them, people are pushing back in some cases, and this has prompted France to consider extending a two-week lockdown to try to slow the coronavirus pandemic because “idiots” keep ignoring the order to stay home, Fox News reported.

In an interview with Europe 1 Radio, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner was not too complimentary of some of his fellow citizens.

“There are people who think they are modern-day heroes by breaking the rules while they are in fact idiots,” Castaner said.

On Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron said the country was effectively “at war” as he announced a 15-day lockdown.

“Never before in history has France had to take such exceptional measures in a time of peace,” Macron explained. ”You will no longer be able to see your loved ones … or continue your daily routine.”

One of the harder-hit countries, France has 10,995 cases of COVID-19, with 372 deaths, as of the Thursday evening, according to WorldOMeter.

France mobilized 100,000 law enforcement officers, establishing fixed checkpoints to enforce the restrictions on movement, as only trips to supermarkets, pharmacies, and places of work are allowed, according to The Independent.

The new policy mandates anyone leaving home must have official documentation stating their reason for being out, Fox News reported. French citizens are required to download a form to fill out stating their reason for being outside, and those stopped without the form face a potential fine.

While California has not quite gone to that extent, on Thursday the state’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered residents of the state to “stay at home” in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“This is not a permanent state, this is a moment in time,” Newsom said. “We will look back at these decisions as pivotal.”

With some defying the order, Californians also face a potential fine for being out for non-essential reasons.

Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Macron took issue with so many people taking the confinement measures “lightly.”

“When I see that people continue to go to the park, to the beach or to rush into open markets,” it means “they have not understood” the rules of the lockdown, the French president said, according to Fox News.

Much like what was seen in Florida, where sunbathers crowded beaches, officials in France had to shut down beaches on the French Mediterranean coast.

Genevieve Chene, the head of France’s public health agency, said an extension to the confinement period will likely be necessary, as it may require up to four weeks for the outbreak to be contained.

“It is likely that it is indeed necessary to extend [the containment measures] in order for the braking to be sufficient,” Chene said.

Tom Tillison

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