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Coronavirus: French prime minister orders for borders to be closed

Speaking in a press conference on Sunday, the French Prime minister, Jean Castex, announced that all French borders will be closed to countries outside the European Union (EU) with immediate effect. Travels to French overseas territories will no longer be allowed.

Travellers as well as tourists from the EU looking to get into the country will only be granted access after a negative PCR test.

Owners of large shopping centres as well as restaurants have been put on notice by the prime minister to be closed during the period of the border closure.

A mandatory 12-hour curfew was established by PM Jean Castex as well as the ban of secret parties or gatherings in order to curtail the spread of the virus. Perpetrators are to be punished accordingly by the police who have been ordered to maintain these laws in the country.

Although tension arose due to the closure of large shopping centres and restaurants, Grant Shapps, UK transport secretary clarified that the ban wouldn’t apply to hauliers therefore allowing for a smooth trade flow.

According to the prime minister, the rules have been places in order to avoid more spread of the virus throughout the country which would result in a lockdown.

“We know the grave impact (of a lockdown). Tonight, looking at the data of the past few days, we consider that we can still give ourselves a chance to avoid one. Our duty is to do all we can to avoid a new lockdown, the coming days will be crucial” he said.

France has recently seen an increase in its infection and admittance rate with about 60% of its hospitals’ intensive care beds occupied by Covid-19 patients.

With more than 75,000 people dead from the virus, France has the seventh-highest tally in the world. Its special adviser in the pandemic, Jean-François Delfraissy has stated that France might need to enter into its third lockdown in February due to the high rate of infection in the country.

With only 1.45 million people vaccinated against the virus and the halt in the vaccine distribution, France aims to find other alternatives in combating the virus.

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Festus Ezeifedi Chukwuemeka

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