France border closure will not affect hauliers, says Shapps

Clay Curtis
January 30, 2021

Friday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that France will close its borders, starting Sunday, to flights coming from non-European Union (EU) countries, "unless there is compelling justification", in an attempt to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It comes after thousands of hauliers were left stranded in Kent in December when France closed its borders following the discovery of a fast-spreading coronavirus strain in the UK.

From Sunday all but essential travel from outside of the European Union will be banned. However, I can confirm that this does NOT apply to hauliers, so trade will continue to flow smoothly.

All arrivals from inside the European Union will also now have to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test - with the exception of cross-border workers.

The French Prime Minister said that "the next few days will be decisive" in terms of any possible new restrictions.

The decision has been made in a bid to avoid a national lockdown - coronavirus cases have recently spiked in France.

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Public health officials said it is nearly certain that there are more infections that have not been identified yet. A preliminary analysis found over half of the trial participants who became infected had the mutated version.

France will close all large shopping centers starting Sunday and limit travel to and from its overseas territories.

He also pledged that police would crack down on secret parties and illegal restaurant openings. "Let's be very vigilant", Mr Castex said.

In total, France has confirmed over 3.15 million cases and witnessed more than 75,000 fatalities due to COVID-19. There are just over 20,000 new COVID-19 cases a day in France, but studies have shown the number of cases of more contagious variants of the virus has been growing rapidly.

Around 3,000 patients are now in intensive care, a level comparable to October, when the second lockdown started - and ended in mid-December - Mr Veran said.

In contrast, Italy said on Friday it would move more areas into less-restrictive rules from Monday, despite health officials warning it was risky.

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