Paris to close city parks to reduce coronavirus infection risk

PARIS (Reuters) - Paris will close its parks until further notice in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus infections, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a statement on Monday.

Hidalgo said that there were still lots of people in the city's parks, despite government recommendations for social distancing as coronavirus infections are growing quickly.

"The government has announced new measures to limit new infections by limiting contact between people as much as possible. To amplify the impact of these measures, Paris parks and gardens will be closed in coming hours and will not reopen tomorrow," Hidalgo said.

France's top health official said earlier on Monday the country was struggling to curb the spread of the virus and expressed his regret that Parisians had ventured out in large numbers on Sunday - a warm and sunny day - despite official advice to stay at home and a nationwide shutdown of bars and restaurants.

Sources told Reuters on Sunday that the government was preparing an order that would put French citizens under partial lockdown to combat the epidemic, a move that would impose further restrictions on public life.

(Reporting by Marine Pennetier; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Alex Richardson)