PARIS — The French government declared a state of sanitary emergency today in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that parliament, which will meet in a reduced format in accordance with coronavirus health guidelines, is expected to pass a bill officially approving the state of emergency declaration in the coming days.
The bill will give the prime minister the power to “decide, by decree, and upon the recommendation of the minister of health, general measures limiting the freedom to go and come, the freedom to enterprise and the freedom to congregate as well as allowing him to proceed with requisitions of any goods and services necessary to fight against the sanitary disaster,” according to the text of the bill.
The Cabinet met today for the second time in as many days, as the government continues to devote all its time to managing the epidemic. Other than Philippe and French President Emmanuel Macron, only the 10 essential ministers dealing with the crisis — such as Health Minister Olivier Véran and Finance Minister Bruno le Maire — were physically present.
The others, like Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume or Secretary of State for Europe Amélie de Montchalin, dialed in through videoconference, in compliance with sanitary guidelines related to the coronavirus.