Paris: To avoid the spread of new Corona variant, France shut downs its borders to people arriving from outside the European Union starting Sunday.
The decision was taken during an emergency government health security meeting at the presidential palace, warning about the “great risk” from the new variants. French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the new measures on Friday night to avoid Corona induced third lock down.
“All those arriving from other EU countries will be required to produce a negative virus test,” he said.
France had already limited cross-border travel because of the scare of this deadly virus, and imposed tougher checks in airports and ports, last week.
International tourism to France has slowed down because of the pandemic, while restaurants and tourist sites have also been closed since October along with many hotels.
France is likely to close all large shopping centers from coming Sunday and will limit travel to, and from, its overseas territories.
PM Castex has also directed to step-up police checks of those who violate France’s 12-hour-a-day curfew, hold secret parties or reopen restaurants in defiance of a closure order in place since October.
Meanwhile, France is going through a tough stage where several doctors and health workers are urging a new nationwide shutdown, like those imposed in several other European countries, as hospitalizations and deaths have been rising in France (steadily but not sharply) in recent weeks.
Telling the economic devastation of such measures, Castex said, “Our duty is to put everything in place to avoid a new lockdown, and the coming days will be decisive.”
To note, France is one of the nations that have registered the highest virus death tolls, at 75,620, and more than 60% of its intensive care beds are occupied by virus patients.
“More than ever we should do everything to respect the rules,” said Castex.