As cases of Covid-19 continue to surge in major European countries, officials in France are now said to be struggling to contain the virus. Jerome Salomon, a top French health authority, confirmed in an interview with French Inter radio on Monday that the country is having difficulty halting the spread of coronavirus and are now considering a partial shutdown.

“A lot of people have not understood that they need to stay at home, and this low level at which people have adhered means that we are not succeeding in curbing the outbreak of the epidemic,” Salomon said. “This morning, I appeal to all French people to mobilize in the fight.”

The official explained that too many citizens, especially in the capital city of Paris, have continued to gather in large numbers at bars and restaurants, despite strong urgings from the French government.

According to Johns Hopkins University, 5,397 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in France, resulting in 127 death to date. Only 12 patients in the country have recovered so far.

On Sunday, Reuters reported that the French government is preparing a plan for a partial countrywide shutdown should the spread of the virus become too severe. It is unclear at this stage if a final decision has been made but a source close to the matter said that a decree could quickly go into effect.

The Chateau de Versailles is one of several major tourist attractions in France that have already shut down The Chateau de Versailles is one of several major tourist attractions in France that have already shut down Photo: AFP / Philippe LOPEZ