French police make 2,500 quarantine travel checks and 141 fines

Police have so far conducted some 2,500 checks and fined 141 people for breaching their strict 10-day quarantine, obligatory for arrivals from 'red'-listed countries, according to the French interior ministry.

French police make 2,500 quarantine travel checks and 141 fines
Gendarmes will be knocking on the doors of people subject to France's toughest quarantine measures. Photo: Philippe LOPEZ / AFP

Of the total 2,479 checks conducted across France as per May 6th, 141 people received fines, according to the interior ministry, which confirmed the numbers to French daily Le Parisien.

Some 4,000 people were so far concerned by the quarantine checks, having arrived in France from one of the countries on the ‘red’ list with strict Covid-19 rules.

“The police come to check on me from the other side of the street,” Marcel, 60, told Le Parisien. 

“I say hi from the window.”

Marcel had arrived from India, one of the countries on the ‘red’ list. France and several other countries have tightened travel rules on arrivals from India following its flare-up in Covid cases and the new B.1.617 – so-called “Indian” – variant.

At present, travel from the countries on the ‘red’ list is allowed for essential reasons only. This is the general rule for non-EU travel, except for seven countries including the UK, Australia and New Zealand, from which travellers can come for any reason.

The strict pre-travel testing regime for ‘red’-list travellers is followed by a compulsory 10-day quarantine in France. This quarantine is monitored by police, in contrast to the seven-day quarantine asked of travellers coming in from other non-EU countries (including the UK), which is not enforced by police.

Arrivals from countries within the EU do not need to quarantine in France. 

Marcel tested positive for the virus at Charles-de-Gaulle airport north of Paris, though, six days later, he remained symptom-free. All international travellers are required to get tested for Covid before departure, but several of the people Le Parisien spoke to took another rapid antigen nasal swab test upon their arrival in France.

EXPLAINED These are France’s rules on quarantine

The government is restructuring its travel rules, preparing a ‘traffic light’ system with red, orange and green lists determining travel restrictions on countries depending on their epidemic status.

During the obligatory 10-day quarantine period, arrivals from red list countries have to stay home at all times, except between 10am and 12 noon when they are allowed to run essential errands.

When announcing the new rules, the government warned that they would be tightly enforced. Anyone found out of the house outside the given two-hour window faces a fine between €1,000 and €1,500.

Another traveller who arrived from India and tested positive upon his arrival said he counted five checks since the beginning of his quarantine.

Two of these happened through intercom only, but most times police seem to request an in-person meet, though from a distance to avoid risking getting infected.

Some police complained that the checks were a waste of resources.

“It would be more effective to isolate these poor people in hotels, rather than letting them infect each other, and less time-consuming for police,” one policeman in the Val-d’Oise département, north of Paris, told Le Parisien.

For the full rules on non-EU travel, click HERE.

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French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.