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French defense minister confirms secretive military base outside Paris hit by coronavirus

29 Feb, 2020

The French military confirmed that several people stationed at the 110 Creil air base outside Paris have fallen ill with coronavirus. The military base is now effectively being placed on lockdown.

Defense Minister Florence Parly confirmed on Friday that a number of coronavirus cases have been registered at the military facility, located to the north of the French capital.

An “epidemiological investigation” into the outbreak is now underway, Parly said, while all mass activities, as well as trips to and from the facility, have been suspended. Precautionary measures are also being undertaken at other military installations.

If not contained promptly, the outbreak could spell serious trouble for the French military, as the airbase houses much more than low-ranking grunts. A number of units with the Directorate of Military Intelligence, as well as other special military units are stationed at the facility.

While there’s no official word on the source of the outbreak so far, the Creil air base was used to launch emergency evacuation flights for French nationals stranded in the epidemic’s ground zero, the Chinese city of Wuhan. All of the infected evacuees reportedly remained at the base, while the crews who participated in the flights were placed under quarantine.

The number of confirmed cases in France shot up by 19 on Friday and now stands at 57 in total. French Health Minister Olivier Veran urged the public to abide by official safety guidelines and avoid close contacts with other people altogether.

“The virus is now circulating on our territory … I recommend that, for now, people do not shake hands.”

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