As French death toll passes 10,000, Paris announces ban on outdoor exercise

Four weeks into a lockdown, France became the fourth country in the world to surpass 10,000 deaths:

Latest figures show 10,238 people died from the virus since 1 March. In the past 24 hours, 607 deaths have been recorded in hospitals…

The epidemic is still in its “upward phase,” Director of Health Jérôme Salomon said, with the number of daily deaths, hospitalisations and critical cases still going up. “The peak has not been reached,” he said.

However, there are signs that the rate of growth is slowing. The number of critical cases was up only 59 on the previous day, because the rise in new cases (518) was largely compensated by people coming off the critical list.

So they haven’t reached the peak of the epidemic but they may be getting close to it. However, Paris is further tightening already strict rules about when people can go outside for exercise. Starting tomorrow, jogging and other types of exercise will not be allowed during most of the day.

In a joint press release from Mayor Anne Hidalgo and city police chief Didier Lallement sent out on Tuesday, it was announced that anyone wanting to go for a run or other individual exercise would have to do so before 10am or after 7pm at night – “when the streets are generally at their quietest”. Exercising between those hours is now forbidden…

“Feedback from our services and the police from on the ground is clear and consistent,” said Gregoire. “There are too many people out at the same time and too many joggers at peak times. Nothing is perfect: the aim is to limit risks by limiting overcrowding rather than a general ban.”

I was only able to find a few images that appear to show small crowds over the weekend.

Few of these people appear to be joggers but obviously authorities felt they needed to do something more to prevent crowds from forming during the day. This new restriction is on top of the strict rules that were already in place:

People are now only permitted to exercise outside the home once a day, for one hour and are not allowed to venture more than 1km from their home.

Cycling for exercise is banned altogether – although cycling to work or the supermarket is still allowed – and all group sports such as football are banned.

The new ban on jogging and other exercise does not apply to people walking their dogs or taking a stroll with family members. The idea seems to be to limit the exercise people to off-peak hours so the daytime is reserved for families and children.

The AFP interviewed some Paris joggers about the new ban. At least one of them admitted there have been crowds. AFP doesn’t allow their YouTube clips to be embedded so you’ll have to click here to watch it. However, this France24 clip covers the same ground:

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