The army have been dispatched onto the streets of locked down France to help enforce prohibition on all movement to curb the spread of coronavirus.
President Emmanuel Macron last night urged people to stay at home for 14 days, having declared war on Covid-19 and imposing tight controls on citizens – while military personnel have been photographed on the streets, according to reports.
Restrictions include a 6pm curfew, with the president telling the nation to travel only for essential work or food, admitting he could not “forecast how long this current situation will go on for”.
Gas, electricity, water bills and rents are to be suspended during the isolation period, however – while the country will also be shutting its borders from midday today as per an EU ruling.
France has so far registered more than 6,000 infections and 148 deaths.
Despite facing heavy fines for breaking the new rules, people were seen in parks and other public spaces on Sunday across the country, leaving health officials worried the warnings will be difficult to impose, reports the Daily Express.
In a live television address to the nation, Mr Macron pledged that no French company would be exposed to risk of collapse as he announced billions in euros in loans to help keep businesses afloat.
Hotels and other private businesses will meanwhile be requisitioned by the state in order to help treat Covid-19 patients.
The measures will start at midday on Tuesday, and go on for ‘at least two weeks’, Mr Macron said.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner warned anyone leaving the house in France “for any reason” will have to download a form or risk a minimum £34.60 fine enforced by 100,000 police and gendarmes.
Mr Castaner said “essential professions” which can still enjoy easy travel include medical and postal workers, but few others.
They will instead have to write “going out to buy a baguette” or “walking the dog” on an individual printed form every time they step outside their front door.
“We can always practice a physical activity or take our dog out, but everyone should do it sparingly, without meeting in a group,” the minister said.
“We can get some fresh air, yes, but certainly not play a football match. A control system will be set up by 100,000 police and gendarmes,” he added.
Mr Castaner said the minimum fine would be €38 (£34.60) and that this would “rapidly rise” to €130 (£118) if it remained unpaid.
The forms will be downloadable from the website of the French Ministry of the Interior each night during a minimum lockdown of two weeks, starting at midday on Tuesday.
“It will be up to everyone to fill it out to specify the nature of their trip,” said Mr Castaner. “Those who have business cards will be invited to present them.”
President Macron had previously hit out at the border measures being imposed by the EU, and criticised Germany for temporarily shutting frontiers with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark.
The country has recorded around 5,400 infections, with 400 still in intensive care in its hospitals, which are struggling to cope.
France becomes the latest country to impose lockdown after Italy earlier this month whose death toll had skyrocketed.