PARIS | French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Friday evening a series of new restrictions, including the closure of borders to countries outside the EU, to curb the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, hoping to “avoid further confinement”.
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“The next few days will be decisive”, warned the head of government from the Elysee Palace during a surprise speech, after a defense council.
“The question of containment is a legitimate one, but we know the very heavy impact on all levels,” continued Mr. Castex.
The head of government announced the closure from midnight Sunday of the borders to countries outside the European Union, “unless there is a compelling reason”.
The Prime Minister also specified that a negative PCR test would be required for any entry into France from a country of the European Union, “with the exception of cross-border workers”. This measure, already in force since last Sunday for maritime and air transport, must therefore be extended to land transport.
Finally, “all trips to and from all of our overseas territories will now also be subject to the production of compelling reasons from this Sunday,” added the head of government.
Non-food shopping centers of more than 20,000 m2, “that is to say those which promote the most brewing”, will be closed in France from this Sunday.
In addition, from Monday the attendance gauges “will be strengthened in all supermarkets”.
“In all companies where it is possible, recourse to teleworking will be increased,” said the Prime Minister. A measure that also applies to public administrations.
The head of government has also raised the tone against “the excesses of a few”, promising a strengthening of curfew controls, against clandestine parties and the illegal opening of restaurants.
A “particular firm instruction will be applied for those who defraud the rules in force”, underlined Mr. Castex.
The head of government considers that the situation is “worrying” even if it “remains better under control in France than in many of our neighbors”.
The epidemic pressure linked to Covid-19 remained strong on Friday in France, with nearly 23,000 new contaminations and a high level of admissions to hospital and intensive care.