Two days ago, France reported the second death of a patient because of respiratory infection. Jerome Salomon, the country's director-general of health, told Al Jazeera that the diseased had traveled to Italy's Lombardy region and had also tested positive.
As part of national measures to fight the epidemic outbreak, France will also keep several schools in the Oise area north of Paris closed after the holidays end on Sunday to halt the spread of the virus, Health Minister Olivier Veran said.
"The virus is now circulating on our territory ... I recommend that, for now, people do not shake hands," Veran told reporters at a daily briefing about the situation while asking to respect authorities' safety instructions.
Ce soir, alors que 57 cas de #COVID19 sont identifiés en France, je tiens à rappeler que ce sont les petits gestes qui garantissent une grande protection : �� Lavez-vous les mains régulièrement �� Évitez le serrage de mains pic.twitter.com/NjGBv7ACco
Tonight, when 57 cases of # COVID19 have been identified in France, I would like to remind you that it is the small gestures that guarantee excellent protection: �� Wash your hands regularly �� Avoid shaking hands
"Protect yourself and your loved ones," he said.
Defense Minister Florence Parly said through her Twitter account that several confirmed coronavirus infections had been reported on the military base of Creil, north of Paris.
1. À la veille du Conseil de défense convoqué par le Président de la République, j’ai réuni les autorités du ministère des Armées pour un point de situation sur le coronavirus, en particulier après la détection de plusieurs cas sur la base militaire de Creil. pic.twitter.com/3yeNhVU4ZC
On the eve of the Defense Council convened by the President of the Republic, I brought together the authorities of the Ministry of the Armed Forces for an update on the coronavirus, in particular after the detection of several cases at the Creil military base.
French President Emmanuel Macron's office said on Friday that the government would meet on Saturday to discuss the health crisis.