The Louvre Museum Is Closed As France Tries To Combat The Coronavirus Outbreak

France’s hallowed Louvre museum will not open its doors to visitors today after staff raised concerns over the nation’s growing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, marking a significant development in the virus’ spread across Europe.

Citing a union representative, the BBC reports Louvre staff voted “almost unanimously” to keep the gallery closed, citing “real concern” for the possibility of the virus spreading through patrons at the Paris landmark.

The move follows the French government’s decision to temporarily ban any indoor gathering of more than 5,000 people in an attempt to stem the virus, which has infected 100 people in the country and taken two lives.

In a Facebook post, staff said the world’s most-visited museum “cannot” open on Sunday, March 1, before apologising for the inconvenience.

It’s not currently clear when the Louvre will reopen to visitors.

It’s not only large indoor gatherings which have been banned. The Paris Half-Marathon, which was also slated for today, has been written off, while authorities have also banned public gatherings in the town of Oise, north of Paris, where a cluster of infections and one virus-linked death have been reported.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused further disruption in Italy, which has confirmed the most infections of any European nation so far. 34 people have died as a result of the virus in Italy while local authorities have revealed the number of infections now stands at 1,694, up from 1,128 just a day prior.

Some small towns in the nation’s north remain under lockdown, while five matches in Serie A, Italy’s top football league, have also been postponed.

As it stands, the Australian government is yet to place any restrictions on travellers coming from Italy or France.

26 cases have been confirmed in Australia, sadly leading to one fatality.

COVID-19 has taken more than 2,900 lives worldwide, while the global infection number sits at around 85,000.