Photo: Sunriseread. French members of Parliament take part in a debate about the state of health emergency bill at the National Assembly on March 21, 2020, in Paris
On March 22, 2020, France’s two-chamber parliament approved a legal text introducing a “state of health emergency” in France in response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The bill, first agreed by the upper house Senate, passed after the lower house National Assembly decided to adopt it. The emergency lasts for two months from the day of its adoption and is also renewable.
The new bill grants the government authorization, during the COVID-19 crisis, to restrict freedom of movement and requisition of goods and services under the justification of protection of citizens against the virus. If citizens fall foul of the lockdown restrictions, they are to be fined at minimum 135 euros. However, if the offence reoccurs within 15 days, they have to face 1,500-euro penalty. In case of four violations within 30 days, the offence is to be punished by a fine of 3,700 euros and up to six months in prison.
The legislation also empowers the government to assist French firms that have been harshly damaged due to COVID-19 and delays the second round of French local elections until June at the latest. Although the bill has much power given to the government, any such special powers enacted during the state of health emergency are to cease once they are deemed no longer necessary.
Hermesauto. (2020, March 22). French Parliament declares emergency over coronavirus spread as death toll jumps to 674. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/french-parliament-declares-emergency-over-coronavirus-spread-as-death-toll-jumps-to-674
Hopkins, L. (2020, March 22). Coronavirus: French National Assembly greenlights 'public health emergency' bill. Retrieved from https://sunriseread.com/coronavirus-french-national-assembly-greenlights-public-health-emergency-bill/69972/
Rfi. (2020, March 22). France declares public health emergency as coronavirus deaths top 500. Retrieved from http://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20200322-france-declares-public-health-emergency-as-coronavirus-deaths-top-500-covid-19-tougher-lockdown-restrictions-prison
Wires, N. (2020, March 22). French parliament declares health emergency to combat pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.france24.com/en/20200322-french-parliament-declares-health-emergency-to-combat-pandemic
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