France closes non-EU borders and tightens curfew in last chance to avoid third lockdown

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France closes non-EU borders and tightens curfew in last chance to avoid third lockdown
French Prime Minister Jean Castex. Photo: AFP

A last-minute meeting of France's Defence Council has ended with no return to lockdown, although extra restrictions were put in place.


The French government had been debating all week whether to impose another lockdown, as Covid cases continue to rise across the country and fears grow about new and more contagious variants of the virus.

But after a Friday evening meeting of the Defence Council, which makes the final decision on health restrictions in France, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced no lockdown - for now.

However other restrictions were put in place including a tightening of the travel ban and the closure of large shopping centres.


France is currently on a nighttime curfew, but on Thursday the health minister warned that it was likely not enough to curb the spread, aggravated by the new variants first discovered in the UK and South Africa.

The extra restrictions announced by the PM are;

  • A ban on all travel in and out of France from outside the EU, with an exception only for vital travel from midnight Sunday (0:00am).
  • All arrivals into France from within the EU must present a negative Covid test (previously this rule had only applied to arrivals by air and sea). Cross-border workers are exempt from this requirement 
  • From Sunday, all non-food shopping centres larger than 20,000 square metres will close
  • The protocol on home-working will be reinforced so that everyone who can work from home does so
  • Police will step up checks on compliance with curfew and crack down on illegal parties and restaurant-opening.

The current rules including the 6pm curfew will remain in place.

He added: "The question of another lockdown is legitimately raised in view of the latest data.

"We want to do everything we can to avoid another lockdown. The coming days will be decisive. Let's be very vigilant."

Travel into France from outside the EU - including the UK - was already heavily restricted.
Existing travel requirements for arrivals from the UK such as PCR tests and travel forms will remain in place.




Comments (4)

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Anonymous 2021/01/30 08:26
What are they afraid of? A full lockdown should be imposed show some backbone being a MP isn't about having one's ego massaged but making hard decisions that aren't popular. Of course the real reason for not implementing a full lockdown is the school holidays are about to start so all departments will be full of holidaymakers spreading the virus around yet again.
Anonymous 2021/01/30 01:59<br /><br />On a good note, fingers crossed.... case and hospital numbers in the US are on a good downswing, for now. We know that for every positive case, there are 4-5 added. My brother in law tested positive, and 3 other family members got sick, but did not test, for example. Some simple math tells us that well over 100 million have had it. Add the vaccination program, some focused management, and a more coordinated federal response plan, and you can begin to see some light at the end of this POS pandemic! Private top medical sources have commented on this being the beginning of herd immunity, again, fingers crossed... Last thing Europe needs, and I still include the UK, is to shun the vax, IMHO. Polls have shown only 4 of 10 French want the vax, a little higher in Germany, if I read correctly... Retired surgeon and German/French expat here... Take care!!
Anonymous 2021/01/30 00:29
29 January 202120:46 CET+01:00 your update states : A ban on all travel in and out of France from outside the EU, with an exception only for vital travel from midnight Sunday (0:00am).<br />So as UK Citizens can we not leave France after Sunday night?
Anonymous 2021/01/29 23:26
Ikea Bordeaux is 30,000m2. Is it a "shopping centre" or just a "shop." This is serious. So many trips might be averted.

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