PARIS, March 16. /TASS/. The European Union will close its external borders for 30 days starting from March 17, French President Emmanuel Macron said in a televised address to the nation on Monday.
"On Tuesday, at noon, borders of the EU, of the Schengen Area, will be sealed for 30 days. Trips between non-EU countries and the European Union will be suspended for this period," the French leader said, adding that this was "a common decision made by the European leaders this morning."
Macron stressed that "the threat of coronavirus has become a reality."
"We are now in the state of war. Our enemy is invisible, but it exists, and it marches forward," he said. "Once again, I call upon you to stay at home and to keep calm."
The French leader said that the government will come up with further practical measures to contain the outbreak soon.
"All violators of those rules will be prosecuted," Macron warned.
A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan, a large trade and industrial center with a population of 12 million, in late December 2019. Cases of the new coronavirus have also been reported from about 130 countries and territories, including Russia, which has 93 coronavirus cases. The World Health Organization says that the novel coronavirus cases across the globe have exceeded 170,000, with more than 6,000 deaths. The WHO has officially described the situation with the novel coronavirus as a pandemic.