Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in France extend nationwide health state of emergency through July 24 to combat COVID-19. Further restrictions possible.

This alert affects France

This alert began 05 May 2020 23:26 GMT and is scheduled to expire 24 Jul 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through July 24
  • Impact: Movement and travel restrictions; business disruptions

Authorities in France have extended the nationwide health state of emergency through July 24 as part of their efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure will require French citizens and travelers to undergo a two-week mandatory quarantine upon arrival to France. It remains unclear if travelers will be required to self-isolate at home or in hotels. Beginning May 11, residents will also be required to wear face masks when in public.

Other measures taken by the French government include:

  • On April 13, authorities extended the nationwide lockdown through at least May 11 but have stated that kindergartens, schools, and universities will likely progressively open from May 11. The measure continues to require residents to remain in their homes except to perform essential tasks.
  • France's land borders with other Schengen Area nations will remain closed.
  • Previously, President Emmanuel Macron ordered the closure of multiple businesses nationwide, including cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, and movie theaters. Grocery stores, fueling stations, banks, and pharmacies are exempt from the closure order.
  • Ban on unnecessary travel.
  • Suspension of demonstrations, gatherings, and public or private events of any type (including cultural, sporting, recreational, or religious activities); suspension of discotheque and nightspot operations.
  • Closure of resorts, swimming pools, and gyms.
  • Closure of museums and other cultural sites.
  • Closure of all schools at all levels and suspension of classes and school activities, including professional and university courses, except distance learning classes and medical or healthcare training.

Authorities could impose additional requirements or ease existing restrictions, depending on the disease activity in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the French authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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