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France on lockdown: Vacation for some, a nightmare for many

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On March 16, the French government announced that France will go under complete lockdown for 15 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order was subsequently extended for another 15 days.

All public institutions, restaurants, hotels and stores, except supermarkets and pharmacies, have been closed. Companies have been encouraged to switch to remote work for their employees and only those whose activity is deemed "essential" to the nation are allowed to operate in offices and factories.

France already has more than 78,000 recorded cases of COVID-19. On April 7, the number of deaths passed 10,000 and the peak is yet to be reached.

It has been three weeks since the lockdown was imposed and it has already highlighted the deepening class divisions in French society.

Many middle-class and wealthy families headed out of the big cities to their vacation homes and villas in the countryside. It is estimated that 1.2 million of metropolitan Paris's 12 million inhabitants left between March 13 and March 20.

Several celebrities have been widely criticised for flaunting their luxurious ways of living under the lockdown. An article by writer Marie Darrieusecq describing her idyllic trips in the countryside and deer showing up in her garden caused public outrage, and so did a piece by actress and singer Lou Doillon who lamented the closure of art........

© Al Jazeera

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