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Thousands flee Paris as the capital prepares to enter full lockdown

por Jimmie Stultz (2020-04-06)


Hundreds of British tourists crammed into Calais ferry terminal this morning after being evacuated from France overnight amid a nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Passengers were forced to sit on the floor among their suitcases and bags having braved coach trips lasting over 12 hours to get to the ferry port.

With airports closed and flights cancelled, people started arriving at the port on the northern French coast from 4am this morning after leaving locations across France yesterday evening.

After such long journeys, tired and stressed holidaymakers then faced further delays of five-hours as they waited for coaches to take them back to the UK without food or drink.  

All of the cafés and bars in Calais' were closed and all vending machines empty.






Travellers can be seen returning from Calais into the ferry port of Dover today after Paris went into lockdown at midday due to the coronavirus pandemic 







British travellers are pictured returning from France to Dover this afternoon, avoiding French President Emmanuel Macron's midday lock-down of the country 







Two women are pictured returning to the ferry port of Dover from Calais today after Paris was put on lockdown by French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday 


The chaotic scenes came as France shut down in a bid to halt the spread of the killer Covid-19 bug, which has so far claimed the lives of 148 people in the country and infected 6,600.

Restaurants, bars, schools and ski-resorts have been closed in France since the weekend and from midday today people are being told to stay in their homes and only travel if absolutely necessary.

One hundred thousand police officers will enforce the lockdown and checkpoints set up all over the country.

British skier Katie Slater, 29, took these shocking images of British skiers swarming the Calais ferry port early this morning.

She and six friends flew to Grenoble in southeastern France last Saturday morning before heading to the Alpine resort of Meribel after being assured by their tour operator, Skiworld, that everything was still open for business.

However, within hours of arriving at their chalet news filtered through that all ski resorts were shutting down due to fears of coronavirus.

They had to spend the weekend hunkered down in the chalet and then last night were bussed right across France to Calais.

Katie, who works in HR for a bank, said: 'It was a nightmare because there must have been around 500 or so people crammed into the ferry terminal when we arrived with an overspill of people outside.

'Having that many people huddled together confined under the one roof cannot be good in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus.

'Plus we'd been on a coach for 12-hours from the other side of France and when we finally got to Calais, there was no food or drink because all the bars and cafes were shut and the food vending machines and water machines were empty.






A family bundles their belongings into the boot of a car at the ferry port of Dover today after French President Emmanuel Macron announced France would be locked down amid coronavirus concerns 







Tourists returning from Calais to Dover stand with their suitcases at the British ferry port today amid growing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic 


'If you needed water, you needed to go into the toilet so you can imagine that with so many tired, hungry and stressed people, emotions are going to be running high and people were starting to get very irritated.

'We'd checked with Skiworld on Friday and Saturday morning just gone and they assured us that everything was still going on as normal and the resorts were open, which they were, but literally the evening we got there, President Macron more or less closed the country down.

'We couldn't leave the chalet for two days, none of the restaurants, shops or bars were open and we obviously couldn't go skiing.

'So we managed to keep our spirits up as much as possible but it was strange being in the Alps and confined to our accommodation.

'All Airports in France were closed and flights cancelled so rather than flying back to Gatwick we were put on a 12 hour coach to Calais and on to Dover.






Men carry their belongings on a trolley after leaving France due to French President Emmanuel Macron's nationwide lockdown yesterday 


'Fortunately we weren't at Calais very long because we opted to forget about the coach to Gatwick and instead book our own tickets as foot passengers back to Dover.

'It meant having to lug around a suitcase, skibag and bootbag but it meant that I got back to Britain just after 10am this morning. It was a huge relief to be home.

Ms Slater said she managed to luckily get a lift from her mum back home to Tonbridge, Kent only about 60 miles away from Dover.

But she added: 'There are still people waiting in Calais I think on coaches heading to whatever UK airport they flew out of. Some are having to face the prospect of another long coach journey when they get to Kent back up north.' 






The army were deployed in Nice, southeastern France, after midday today and can be seen fully armed, patrolling the square outside the Place du Palais de Justice







A French policeman is seen on patrol on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice after a lockdown was imposed to slow the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) contagion at midday in France today 







A woman shows her attestation to French police patrolling on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice after a lockdown imposed to slow the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) contagion started at midday in France today 







Pictured: Members of the French armed forces patrol outside the Place du Palais de Justice in Nice today 







People show their attestation papers, allowing them to be outside today, to French police amid a lockdown imposed by French President Emmanuel Macron to stem the spread of the coronavirus 


Thousands of people including British travellers were fleeing Paris today as the French capital enters full Coronavirus lockdown.

Huge queues were building up at railway and coach station before draconian new measures came into force at midday today. 

Despite government pleas to 'stay at home', rail operator SNCF reported large numbers heading away from urban centres, where police will be enforcing self-isolation.

'The message is clear - stay at home,' said Interior Minister Christophe Castaner as he pledged 'to punish' anyone caught on the street without an official document 'justifying movement'.

This afternoon, the French government sent all citizens an additional text as a reminder to stay indoors. It told them they would be fined if caught outside without the documentation, which can be downloaded from the web.  






French President Emmanuel Macron said in a televised address yesterday that the country would be put on nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus 







People are pictured queuing at a Parisian train station last night, in the hopes of escaping the capital before French President Emmanuel Macron's citywide lockdown went into effect at midday today 















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Parisians queue to escape French President Emmanuel Macron's coronavirus crackdown just hours after he announced the country was at war with the virus yesterday 







People who'd prefer to spend their self-isolation away from Paris can be seen waiting for a train at the Montparnasse railway station in the French capital today 







Two women in the French capital are pictured wearing face masks as a preventative measure amid growing coronavirus concerns in Paris yesterday 


Anybody who failed to download one from the Internet risked a £35 fine, rising to £118 if it remains unpaid.

One of the approved reasons for going out is food shopping, and small groups were already standing outside supermarkets before they opened.

Many more were making their way to mainline stations including the Gare de Nord, where high-speed trains were still running to London.

'The restrictions are just going to get tougher over here, and that's the reason I'm leaving,' said a 58-year-old British businessman who asked to be referred to by his first name of Tony. 

'Expecting us to download a document every time we go out is ridiculous, but the police and army will be enforcing the bureaucracy.'

The French were joining in the exodus, with most saying they would prefer to self-isolate in the countryside rather than in a small city flat.

On social media, concerns were being raised this morning over the Exodus, coined #Exode on Twitter, and the potential for Parisians to spread the disease to rural communities.  






People wearing protective facemasks wait at the Montparnasse railway station in Paris today, hours before the self-isolation to all French citizens went into effect. French President Emmanuel Macron asked people to stay at home to avoid the spread of COVID-19, saying only necessary trips would be allowed and violations would be punished. The country has already shut cafes, restaurants, schools and universities and urged people to limit their movements















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People are pictured wearing protective face masks as they wait for a train at the Montparnasse railway station in Paris this morning 







People can be seen queuing for transport a day after French President Emmanuel Macron announced Paris would be put under a citywide lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus in France 


France today pledged tens of billions of euros in financial aid and 육아 mooted the nationalisation of large companies to wage an 'economic and financial war' on the coronavirus which has sent most of the country's workforce into lockdown.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced a £40billion aid package to help businesses and employees cope with the escalating health crisis and brace for a recession.

'This war will require us to mobilise all our forces,' the minister said, and warned the fight 'will be lengthy, it will be violent'.

'I will not hesitate to use any means at my disposal to protect large French enterprises,' added Le Maire - citing capital injections, stake purchases, and even 'nationalisation if necessary'.

The government said France's national debt will exceed 100 percent of GDP this year, well above the European Union's guideline of no more than 60 percent.

And GDP will contract by an estimated one percent, a dramatic reversal on pre-virus projections of 1.3-percent growth for 2020.

Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin told daily financial newspaper Les Echos the public deficit will likely grow to 3.9 percent of GDP. The government had hoped to shrink it to 2.2 percent.

The economic hit of the coronavirus, which saw the government confine most residents to their homes starting Tuesday and closing all non-essential businesses, comes hot on the heels of a damaging public transport strike which lasted weeks and hurt the earnings of small businesses in particular. 

Le Maire said the new aid package will include £29billion for cancelled or deferred taxes and social charges of companies plunged into difficulty by the unprecedented health crisis.

Paying the salaries of people forced to give up work under the containment measures will cost another £7.7billion over two months.

'If we put this much money on the table it is to aid (the economy) to restart quickly' once the outbreak recedes, said the minister.






Parisians queue to escape French President Emmanuel Macron's coronavirus crackdown by leaving the capital, just hours after he announced the country was at war with the virus yesterday


Several companies have already warned of tough times ahead.

Air France said Monday it would slash flight capacity by 70-90 per cent over the next two months and expected its financial situation to be 'badly impacted'.

Carmakers Renault and PSA Peugeot-Citroen, and tyremaker Michelin have closed factories in France, and Airbus has suspended some production in Europe - now the epicentre of the epidemic that started in China.

For small- and micro-businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs, Le Maire said two billion euros would be set aside in a 'solidarity fund' to help those that lose 70 percent of their turnover between March 2019 and March 2020.

France's markets regulator on Tuesday banned short-selling in 92 stocks for the day in a bid to tame the fierce volatility on financial markets as nervous investors try to assess the virus' economic toll.

Targeted were stocks that were especially hard hit when a global sell-off saw Wall Street plunge nearly 13 percent on Monday.

Short-selling involves borrowing shares to sell them, effectively betting their price will fall so they can be bought back cheaper, allowing the investor to pocket the difference.

The practice can put immense downward pressure on prices at times when buyer interest is virtually non-existent.














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Le Maire said he was prepared to impose a short-selling ban of up to a month if necessary. 

In a solemn live TV address on Monday evening, President Emmanuel Macron pledged to put £273billion into 'the war against Coronavirus'.

There will be 100,000 police and army officers enforcing the new restrictions, while hotels and other private businesses will meanwhile be requisitioned by the state in order to help treat sufferers of the lethal virus.

Borders with other European countries will also be closed, although French nationals will be allowed to 'return home'.   

Mr Macron said: 'Walking, meeting friends in the park or in the street will no longer be possible. 






A man wearing a protective face mask waits for a train at Gare du Nord railway station in Paris after French President ordered stringent restrictions on people's movement to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), France today







A man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure, carries his suitcases in the streets of Paris today, a few hours before the order of staying at home to all French citizens comes into effect at midday



ISSN: 1980-5861