France's financial markets regulator has said it is banning any creation or increase in net short positions for an initial period totallying 30 days, subject to an opinion from Esma, the European Securities and Markets Authority.
The ban constitutes an initial period of 20 days, implemented by AMF's chairman according to Article L 421-16 II of the code monétaire et financier and Article 20 of the European Short Selling Regulation.
The AMF board has extended this by an additional 10 days.
It takes effect from midnight on 18 March until 16 April.
As per Esma's own recent announcement also reported by InvestmentEurope - https://www.investmenteurope.net/news/4012463/esma-leash-shorting-response-coronavirus - the ban does not affect market making activities.
The AMF said its decision was made "In the light of the outbreak of Coronavirus and its consequences on the economy and financial market in France."
It has been reported in France that the regulator is not, however, considering closing capital markets altogether.
This comes after suggestions the US government might consider shutting down its markets in way similar to when banks were closed by president Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s. The Financial Times editorial board argued strongly against this in an opinion posted 16 March, suggesting that while volatile, markets were doing what they were supposed to do in respect of price discovery. This per se did not mean they were not functioning.