France has shut its borders to non-European Union nations for all except essential travel, as it steps down from a third lockdown.
This was disclosed by the French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, on Friday after a meeting of the country’s defence council.
According to him, the travel ban will come into force from Sunday in attempt to limit the spread of new variant cases of coronavirus from abroad.
He said, “We are not announcing a fresh national lockdown for now and the next few days will be decisive in terms of any possible new restrictions.”
President Emmanuel Macron said, “Lockdown is a legitimate question… (but) we all know the heavy impact that has on all fronts.”
In an attempt to stem the number of new infections, Castex added that big shopping centres, excluding those selling food, would be closed from Sunday and enforcement of the current 6pm curfew would be stepped up.
“More police and gendarmes will be mobilised to check non-compliance with the curfew, the organisation of clandestine parties and the illegal opening of restaurants.
“Only essential travel would be allowed to and from non-EU countries and all arrivals in France from inside the bloc except cross-border workers would be required to show a negative PCR test,” he added.
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) January 29, 2021
What it means
- The requirement was previously imposed for air and sea travellers, but would now also apply to those travelling by land too.
- With schools and shops still open but restaurants and bars closed, France has fewer restrictions than some European neighbours.
- The government, however, has been aware of growing fatigue among the public and alarm at the prospect of a third lockdown.