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French President announces suspension of utility bills, rent for small businesses struggling amid coronavirus



French President Emmanuel Macron has announced the suspension of utility bills and rent for small businesses struggling to stay afloat amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the European nation.

The announcement was made during a televised address on Monday night (local time) that saw Macron putting in place some of the most severe measures in Europe to try to curb the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 5300 people in the country.

"We are at war," Macron said during the address, as reported by the New York Times. "The enemy is invisible and it requires our general mobilization."

Macron said that the movement of French citizens will be tightly restricted, starting from midday on Tuesday and lasting for at least 15 days, with people expected to stay home, leaving only for essential activities like food shopping.

"Any violation of these rules will be penalized,'' Macron said during his address.

The French President also announced the postponement of the second round of local elections, scheduled for March 22.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, March 17 2020. 15:13 IST