France closes borders for non-EU countries, withdraws from new ban

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The travel ban comes into effect on Sunday to limit the spread of the new Covid variant. (File)

Paris, France:

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Friday the country would close its borders to non-EU countries for all but essential travel, while stepping back from a widely awaited third lockdown.

The travel ban will come into force on Sunday to limit the spread of new variants of coronavirus variants from abroad.

Castex said after a meeting of the country’s Defense Council it was not announcing a new national lockdown for the time being, adding that “the next few days will be crucial” in terms of possible new restrictions.

President Emmanuel Macron added, “Lockdown is a legitimate issue … (but) we all know the powerful impact that is occurring on all fronts.”

To curb the number of new infections, Castex said large malls – other than those selling groceries – would be closed from Sunday and enforcement of the current 6 p.m. curfew would be stepped up.

“More police officers and gendarmes are being mobilized to investigate non-compliance with the curfew, the organization of secret parties and the illegal opening of restaurants.”

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He said that only essential travel to and from non-EU countries is allowed and that all arrivals in France within the block, with the exception of cross-border workers, must have a negative PCR test.

The requirement was previously imposed on air and sea travelers, but would now also apply to those traveling by land.

With schools and shops still open but restaurants and bars closed, there are fewer restrictions in France than in some European neighbors.

However, the government was aware of growing public fatigue and concerns over the prospect of a third lockdown.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)

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