President Emmanuel Macron has urged the young to limit visits to elderly people who are most vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus.
Macron said on a visit to an old people’s home that they were by far the most vulnerable to its effects.
“Our absolute priority is to protect the people who are the most fragile in the face of this virus,” Macron said.
“The nation is behind our old… during this epidemic and we need to limit our visits as much as we can,” he said.
He admitted this could prove “heartbreaking” at times but said the measure was simply one of common sense.
He emphasised that young people should not be visiting the old because “as we know, they (the young) transmit the virus a lot”.
Those who died in France so far have been old with pre-existing conditions.
Macron said that the situation was likely to last several weeks and that people should show the “spirit of responsibility” without giving in to panic.
The health ministry said its priority was to slow the spread of the virus to limit the effects for the population when the peak of the virus is reached.
“People who are old are more at risk and should be protected,” the ministry added.