PARIS: French police handed out over 4,000 fines Wednesday to people for violating an order to stay at home, on the first full day of a lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
“Since this morning, we have begun procedures and 4,095 people were booked (for violating the rules),” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told TF1 television. “The fine was 35 euros yesterday, and now from today is 135 euros ($147) and it can go up to 375 euros. It should be a factor that dissuades people,” he added.
From midday on Tuesday, people in France have been unable to go outside except on essential trips, for which they must sign a document stating where they are going.
“Our aim to is to protect the French. The best way to protect lives is to stay at home,” he said.
Asked about the fact the many French across the country were still taking walks and even jogging, Castaner said this was permitted so long as people went outside alone.
Announcing the lockdown on Monday, President Emmanuel Macron said exercise was permitted, in contrast to the even tighter regimes in Italy and Spain.
“People are not going to stay cooped up, especially those who are not going to work, for the next fortnight. But please avoid doing it in a group,” Castaner said.
“This is discipline and a civic mentality. If needed we will be rigorous and will sanction people,” he warned.