French PM warns of UK travel ban over coronavirus

French PM warns of UK travel ban over coronavirus
Photo: AFP
France could stop British travellers from entering the country if Britain fails to lockdown to battle the coronavirus, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Tuesday.

He said if Britain did not take similar measures to France then “we would find it hard to accept on our territory British citizens who move freely in their own country and then come to France”.

France began a lockdown on Tuesday set to last at least two weeks that prohibits all non-essential travelling.

Britain has yet to adopt such measures with schools remaining open and travel largely unrestricted but it has advised its citizens against all unnecessary travel abroad, including France.

“If we want to be coherent, we need all those who are inside the European zone to adopt methods and processes that are coherent to fight against the epidemic. Italy, France and Spain have chosen confinement,” said Philippe.

The EU is imposing an entry ban to its territory for an initial period of 30 days but it is not due to affect citizens of former EU member Britain or non-EU members of the passport-free Schengen zone.

Coronavirus in France: What should tourists do?

British tourists currently in France are concerned about being able to get home now that France is in lockdown with people ordered to stay home but for essential reasons.

Travel is currently heavily restricted, trains are running a reduced service and there are roadblocks on major and secondary routes with police checking if you are entitled to travel.

That said, there is an exemption for tourists who are travelling to a port/airport with the purpose of going home, France's Interior Minister Christophe Castaner confirmed.

If you decide to head to the ports, you will need to download a copy of the official travel form – more detail on how to fill that in here.

Travel to a port/airport is not one of categories to tick, but you can write on it Je rentre au Royaume-Uni/  aux Etas-Uni en voiture / par avion (aeroport de: ville) / par train – I am returning to the UK/ the USA by car/ by air (name the airport you are flying from) / by train.

If you are travelling by train check on the SNCF website before you travel, the number of trains running has been reduced and is set to be cut further in the coming days.

The same is true for flights, ferries and the Eurostar. Apart from border restrictions (see below) passenger numbers have collapsed so transport operators are cancelling many services rather than run empty.

The Channel Tunnel is for the moment operating normally, but again check before you travel.


Member comments

  1. Why wait? Do it now. The court jester thinks this is all a joke. Schools still open, no restrictions on groups and catering establishments still open. The UK is a breeding ground for the virus.

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