This piece was written on May 13, 2020 amid a rapidly evolving situation. The post reflects the state of knowledge at the time of writing.
In France, a state of sanitary emergency was declared for a period of two months starting on March 23rd, 2020 in order to allow the authorities “to deal with the major health threat” created by SARS-Cov-2.
In many ways, this regime resembles the State of Emergency regime which currently exists in French law (Emergency Powers Law of April 3rd, 1955). However, it seems the public authorities wished to instate, at least symbolically, a different regime from the ones imposed in times of terrorism or armed conflict.