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French culture minister Franck Riester Photo: ActuaLitté via Flickr

French Culture Minister Franck Riester has tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19), official sources revealed Monday night. Riester, who is said to be “feeling well” and “resting safe at home” according to the health minister Olivier Veran, spent several days last week at parliament where five MPs have contracted the virus. He has not met with Emmanuel Macron for days, according to French media reports, however, he did attend a cabinet meeting with French President last Wednesday.

The culture minister was supposed to meet Tuesday with representatives from the cinema and performing arts industries to assess the impact of new measures taken to counter the Covid-19 epidemic, following Sundays decision to ban any public gathering of more than 1,000 people. In France, more than 300 concert halls and theaters, including the Opera House, the new Philharmonie de Paris or Le Zénith indoor arena, have 1,000-plus seats. The Salon du Livre, Frances annual showcase event for publishers, which was expecting 160,000 visitors from 20 to 23 March, had already been cancelled along with a rock and roll festival planned a week before on the French-Swiss border.

In order to reduce attendance, the Louvre is now only accepting tourists with pre-booked e-tickets and those entitled to free entrance. Last week, the museum closed for two days when staff expressed safety concerns. It reopened after an agreement was reached to introduce measures such as refusing to handle cash and posting signs requesting visitors to keep a «respectful distance» from staff. Union representatives also demanded that attendance be halved, but this was refused by the museums management. Visitors themselves made the final call on that issue, however, by deciding to steer clear of the museum, causing attendance numbers to collapse. On a normal day, 25,000 to 30,000 tourists go to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa alone. This Monday morning, only a few dozen visitors were seen wandering the room where Leonardos portrait hangs.

A spokesperson for the museum mentioned the absence of most visRead More – Source

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