PARIS, France (CelebrityAccess) — France has taken the extraordinary step of banning all indoor gatherings of more than 5,000 people in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
The cancellation of large gatherings in confined spaces was announced by Health Minister Olivier Véran following a series of emergency government meetings Saturday.
The ban also applies to outdoor events that take place “in an open environment where people can mix with others from areas where the virus is possibly circulating” according to France24.
“These measures are provisional and we will undoubtedly have to modify them over time,” Véran said. “They are restrictive measures and we hope that they last for some time because that would allow us to contain the spread of the virus.”
In the Oise region north of Paris, where a cluster of infections has been identified, all public gatherings have been put on hold.
Additional measures announced following the meetings included the cancellation of the Paris half-marathon, as well as the closing of the famed Louvre museum.
Véran also advised against physical touches during greetings, including the custom of “la bise,” a method of greeting popular in Europe where people kiss each other’s cheeks or the air close by when meeting.
To date, more than 85,500 cases have been confirmed in more than 50 countries around the world. There have been at least 130 confirmed cases in France, including two fatalities. with thirty new cases reported on Sunday alone.