The French authorities will impose draconian limitations on movement from Wednesday this week in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, according to two reliable sources close to government.

This will involve a prohibition on all movements outside the home except for one shopping trip each day. The police and the army will be mobilised to enforce the rules and a curfew will be imposed from 18:00, the sources said.

The lockdown will last a minimum of five weeks, according to the same sources. Given the Principality’s close relations with its neighbour and its porous borders, it is expected that Monaco will follow suit, as was the case with the closure of bars and restaurants at midnight on Saturday, March 14.

According to a leaked internal memo written by a senior epidemiologist at a respected institute in Paris, if such strict confinement isn’t imposed, at the present rates of infection 30 million French residents will be infected, with the peak occurring in 50 days’ time. Only the strict confinement of at least half of the population can avoid such an outcome, the physician wrote.

Meanwhile, William Dab, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (CNAM) and Director General of Health between 2003 and 2005, told Le Figaro on Sunday that “The situation is very serious. To be honest, I have never been so worried. This is an unprecedented and very serious situation.”

On Sunday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned that banning gatherings of more than 100 people and asking people to limit their social lives was not being well implemented, while Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the government would not hesitate to take further steps to protect its citizens. The death toll in France rose by 29 in a 24-hour period to a total of 120, while in Italy deaths increased by 368 in one day to a total of 1,809.

Long-distance transport will be “gradually reduced” as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic, French transport minister Elisabeth Borne said on Sunday morning, in another indication that is a rapidly changing situation, the French government is preparing to take extraordinary measures to combat the coronavirus epidemic.