French President Emmanuel Macron visited a retirement home in Paris, which has 94 residents, the oldest aged 107, in a move to reassure both the elderly and health workers about France’s readiness to combat the spread of the virus.

Mr Macron said France will likely move to the highest level of epidemic alert “in the coming days” as Covid-19 keeps spreading.

French health authorities on Friday reported 577 confirmed cases of the virus, including nine deaths.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron meets elderly residents

The virus is known to affect the elderly and the sick more than other groups of people.

Mr Macron said: “The priority of the nation is to protect our elderly people.

“We must do it with responsibility, common sense and measures of discipline, and without any panic.”

Mr Macron announced earlier this week that his government was requisitioning all current and future stocks of protective masks in order to ensure their distribution to virus patients and health workers.

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