Experts say the Brazilian variant, known as P1, is particularly virulent and partly to blame for a sharp increase in the country’s coronavirus death toll in March.
“We have observed that the situation is worsening and that is why we have decided to suspend all flights between Brazil and France until further notice,” Castex told parliament.
The French overseas département of French Guiana shares a border with Brazil, causing concern to the government over the health situation.
France had previously imposed extra restrictions on travel between France and the UK when the ‘UK variant’ of the virus was first reported in December, but these have since been lifted and since the middle of March travel between the two countries has been allowed for any reason – although the British government still has travel restrictions in place.
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France has more relaxed rules for seven non-EU countries, including the UK, Australia and New Zealand, but for the rest of non-EU countries, travel is allowed for essential reasons only.
The limits on who can travel means that transport is limited between these countries, but this is the first time that France has imposed a complete ban on flights.
For the full rules on travel into France from within the EU – click HERE.
And the full rules on non-EU travel – click HERE.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has defied expert advice on containing the pandemic, criticising lockdowns, face masks and vaccines.
But he faces mounting pressure to bring the situation under control amid a brutal new surge of the virus.
Brazil’s Covid infection rate is the highest in the world after the United States and India.