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HEALTH

France hopes to begin ‘generalised easing’ of border controls with Europe from June 15th

France's foreign minister on Wednesday announced a voluntary quarantine for arrivals from outside the EU, but added that he hoped that France could begin easing border restrictions for European travel from June 15th.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaking on French radio station LCI, said: ” As of Wednesday, May 20th we will ask French people returning from other countries outside Europe to voluntarily submit to a 14-day quarantine to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

In practice this will not affect many people, since the EU's external borders are closed to all non-essential travel.

However French citizens or people who have their permanent residence in France or another EU country are allowed to travel back from outside the EU or Schengen zone.

 

Le Drian stressed: “The borders outside the EU will remain closed. A foreign citizen from outside Europe cannot enter.” 

The EU's external borders remain closed “until further notice”.

France has not actually closed its borders to travel from inside Europe (which for this purpose still includes the UK) but all non-essential travel is banned and anyone entering France needs an international travel certificate.

These controls will remain in place until at least June 15th. On that date some countries – including Germany – have committed to reopening their borders but France has committed only to reviewing their rules.

READ ALSO When will I be able to travel to France again?

Le Drian added: “Concerning the internal borders, we have reciprocity agreements with neighbouring countries and one can imagine that progressively, provided lifting lockdown works and the pandemic does not resume, we will be able to reconsider these closure measures,” said Le Drian.

“I think that progressively from June 15th, we will be able to start a generalised easing, at least that is what I hope.”

France's main Charles-de-Gaulle airport, north of Paris, has installed thermal cameras to detect arriving passengers with a high fever, one of the symptoms of coronavirus infection.

In a separate interview, the junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebarri said that the reopening of Paris' Orly airport could be envisaged by the end of June, of the health situation allowed.

 

As international air travel collapsed with the introduction of lockdown, Orly closed its doors in March. Traffic into Paris airports in April was 98.6 percent down on the previous year.

The issue of quarantines has become a slightly complicated one for France.

The country announced its own quarantine measures for people travelling from outside Europe, which are expected to be introduced once the EU's external borders reopen. So far there has not been a detailed plan published on these measures.

READ ALSO When will Americans be able to travel to France again?

France had not initially envisaged a quarantine for arrivals from inside the EU or Schengen zone countries, but after Spain announced that it would quarantine all arrivals, France said that it would do the same to arrivals from Spain on the “principle of reciprocity”.

The situation with the UK is even more complicated after the British government announced plans to “soon” quarantine all arrivals into the country.

Shortly after that announcement a joint statement from French president Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this would not apply to people travelling between France and the UK, but less that a week later a spokesman for the British PM said there was no French exemption.

A joint working group is still looking at the issue and the UK has so far not announced a start date for its quarantine.

READ ALSO Who gets quarantined on arrival in France?

 

 

 

 

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HEALTH

France’s monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

France has detected 277 cases of monkeypox, health authorities said Tuesday, June 21st, including the first case in the country of a woman contracting the virus.

France's monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

The case numbers have risen steeply since the last official figure of 183 cases five days earlier. But there have been no deaths in France attributed to monkeypox.

The normal initial symptoms of monkeypox include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.

Until recently, the viral disease had generally been confined to Western and Central Africa but is now present in several continents, particularly Europe.

Among the latest cases recorded in France, “a first female case has been confirmed, the mode of transmission of which is currently being investigated, and all the others are men,” the French national public health agency said in a statement.

So far, the recent outbreak of monkeypox, which is currently affecting some 40 countries, has mainly affected men who have engaged in gay sex.

The World Health Organization is due to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

The virus usually clears up after two or three weeks.

Most of the cases identified in France have been found in Paris and its suburbs, though smaller outbreaks have been seen in several regions throughout the country, including Normandy in the north and the Cote d’Azur in the south.

The first monkeypox case in France was discovered on May 20, the same day the virus was detected in neighbouring Germany.

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