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France to limit long-distance train, bus, plane travel over coronavirus epidemic

France to limit long-distance train, bus, plane travel over coronavirus epidemic
AFP
France will progressively reduce long-distance train, bus and plane travel on its territory over the coming days in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the ecology minister said Sunday.

The country, which has already shut cafes, restaurants, schools and universities and urged people to limit their movements, will now seek to limit long-distance travel “to the strictly necessary” minister Elisabeth Borne told journalists in Paris.

The French government has urged the public to avoid any non-essential travel as it tries to slow the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

On Saturday the French PM announced that all bars, restaurants and non-essential stories were to close as the spread of the virus accelerates across the country.

The government also confirmed the epidemic had reached stage 3 in France, in other words the virus was active throughout the country.

Pedestrians walk in the center of Le Touquet, northern France on March 15, 2020. AFP

Long-distance train traffic will be halved, with only “a few” international flights maintained, she said.

Deputy transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said this meant that “some flights to the United States, Africa, some domestic flights” and to France's overseas territories will be maintained.

Airports will remain open, but certain terminals will be closed — one at Orly Airport in the south from Wednesday, and two at Charles De Gaulle in the north by the end of next week.

Regarding 12,000 French nationals stranded in Morocco after the kingdom suspended air links with 21countries, Djebarri said they were being progressively repatriated. 

Flights from Marrakesh, Casablanca and Rabat have already departed for France, and others are planned for later Sunday from Agadir and Tangiers.

Domestically, Djebarri said long-distance trains of the SNCF rail company will be halved in the coming days, and the regional TER service will run two trains in three.

In French cities and towns, 80 percent of metros, all buses and trams, and seven out of 10 suburban trains will continue running.

“Everyone must give up non-essential travel, leisure travel” and limit themselves to trips required for health, food and work, except if they could work from home, said Borne.

While closing all businesses providing non-essential goods and services in a bid to stem the coronavirus outbreak, France has allowed supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, gas stations and tobacco shops — which also sell newspapers, snacks and stamps — to remain open.


Member comments

  1. But one could still travel by car from one end of the country to the other. A complete lock down within departments with only commercial vehicles allowed to travel outside of departments is the only way to go.

  2. But one could still travel by car from one end of the country to the other. A complete lock down within departments with only commercial vehicles allowed to travel outside of departments is the only way to go.

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