France’s Louvre Museum shut down amid spreading coronavirus crisis

The Louvre Museum in France was closed Sunday amid fears that tourists visiting the famed site could infect its employees with the coronavirus.

The world’s most popular museum shut its doors to visitors while a staff meeting about the deadly virus was conducted. The virus has now spread to more than 60 countries on every continent except Antarctica.

“We are very worried because we have visitors from everywhere,” Andre Sacristin, a Louvre employee and union representative, told The Associated Press.

He added that employees also were concerned because museum workers from northern Italy — where the virus has raged — had come to the museum to collect works by Leonardo da Vinci that were loaned out.

Sacristin said concerns were expressed at the meeting that “it’s only a question of time” before the virus infects the Louvre’s 2,300 workers.

“The risk is very, very, very great,” he said.

The museum — which houses the Mona Lisa — had planned to open after the meeting between management, personnel and the staff doctor. But the Louvre later announced that it would not open at all Sunday, disgruntling a line of hopeful visitors.

“We waited for about 3 hours before giving up,” said Singapore visitor Charles Lim. “It was incredibly disappointing.”

It’s unclear when the museum will reopen; there will be another meeting about virus prevention Monday between union representatives and management.

The major tourist destination — which saw 9.6 million visitors last year — was not impacted by an order Saturday banning all public gatherings in the country of more than 5,000 people.

France has reported 100 cases and two deaths since December’s coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China.

With Post Wires

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