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Coronavirus: #WeApplaud hashtag launched in France to show gratitude towards healthcare workers

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A woman wearing a mask walks pasts the Eiffel Tower closed after the French government banned all gatherings of over 100 people to limit the spread of virus COVID-19.
A woman wearing a mask walks pasts the Eiffel Tower closed after the French government banned all gatherings of over 100 people to limit the spread of virus COVID-19.   -   Copyright  Christophe Ena/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press.
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When French president Macron declared 'war' on COVID-19 on Monday evening, he also announced a sweeping ban on movement, enacting an Italian-style lockdown across the nation. The restriction began noon on Tuesday, and comes as France nears 7,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with the number rapidly rising.

While the people within France are under lockdown, social media users have launched an initiative to show their support to the country's healthcare workers.

Numerous hashtags have been launched including #OnApplaudit and #TousAlaFenêtre, meaning 'we applaud' and 'all at the window,' calling on people across France to take to their windows on the first night of the shutdown to applaud healthcare workers.

Social media users use 'We Applaud' hashtag to symbolically applaud healthcare workers

French MEP Raphael Glucksmann, shared the hashtag, urged people to express their solidarity.

"Show gratitude, our admiration and our support to those who brave the danger, the fatigue, the lack of resources to treat us," he said on Twitter.

Others set up Facebook events, scheduling a time for applause to all in the system. One such posted noted to a lack of basic equipment faced by medical professionals, with shortages in face masks and hand sanitisers.

"It is not a question of saying 'thank you' as if it makes up for the lack of equipment they are facing, but of saying our admiration for their dedication," the description noted.

"Today we applaud them. Tomorrow we are building a new society in which their status will be fairly recognised".

This mirrors similar scenes of gratitude shown in countries such as Spain and Italy - also in lockdown with cases of COVID-19 soaring, with those in Italy sharing the hashtag 'applauso'.

Beyond the countries that have enacted lockdowns including France, Italy and Spain, most European countries have put in place measures for self-isolation. Ireland has shut down bars and banned mass gatherings, while the UK has urged people to avoid social contact.

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