France mulls suspending all flights from India and imposes 10-day quarantine on arrivals

France mulls suspending all flights from India and imposes 10-day quarantine on arrivals
Signs showing the heath measures travellers need to take at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris on March 18th. Photo: ERIC PIERMONT / AFP
The French government has extended its quarantine list to include India, making a total of five countries from which all arrivals in France will be subject to a compulsory 10-day quarantine.

Travellers from India will have to undergo a compulsory 10-day quarantine upon their arrival to France or risk fines, government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced on Wednesday.

“For certain countries where the health situation is very serious and worrisome in particular, we will again tighten the screws,” Attal said.

Attal spoke following the weekly Defence Council meeting, where President Emmanuel Macron and selected government ministers discuss what measures, if any, to take to stem the epidemic spread.

The government was considering suspending flights from India, as it did with flights from Brazil, French TV channel BFM reported, based on anonymous sources from the PM’s office. The LCI news channel reported the same, but no flight ban has yet been announced.

India was the fifth country to be added to the list of areas subject to a travel quarantine, a few days after Paris announced a ban on all flights from Brazil to stave off the P1 coronavirus variant, and required quarantines for passengers on flights from Argentina, Chile and South Africa.

Attal said more details on the new travel restrictions would be published soon and that “other countries could be added to the list”. 

Flights from Brazil were suspended until at least Friday (April 23rd) because of concern about the P1 variant of the coronavirus, which is more contagious than the original strain and can also re-infect those who have had the original virus.

Although flights from Argentina, Chile and South Africa will not be suspended, all arrivals from those countries will have to submit to the quarantine or face fines.

Justifying the decision not to ban flights from the other countries, Paris said that those variants had not reached the levels observed in Brazil.

The new quarantine measures will be gradually introduced over the coming days until they are fully enforced by next Saturday, April 24th.

Travel into France from most non-EU countries is already limited, but the new measures will also restrict arrivals from the named countries, mainly to French citizens and their families as well as other EU nationals and people who are permanent residents in France.

Arrivals from French Guyane and the Antilles will also be subjected to tests before and after their flights, said the statement.

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