Coronavirus: France reopening borders to international visitors

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - France will lift restrictions at its borders for European Union travellers on Monday, the French Interior and Foreign ministries said in a statement on Friday.

The statement added that France will gradually reopen its borders to countries outside the free-travel Schengen zone from July 1.

Europe has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, accounting for almost half of the world's deaths, but the spread has slowed in many of the hardest-hit countries, including Spain, Italy and France.

"Given a favourable development of the health situation in France and Europe and in accordance with the recommendations of the European Commission... France will lift on June 15 (midnight CET) all traffic restrictions at its European internal borders (land, air and sea), implemented to fight the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement said.

Travellers from EU member states, as well as Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican will also be able to enter the French territory without restrictions, the statement said.

Restrictions, including two-week quarantines, will continue to apply at the borders with Spain and with the United Kingdom, it added.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in their statement that France's reopening would be in harmony with the rest of the EU.

"This opening will be gradual and will vary according to the health situation in each of the third countries, and in accordance with the arrangements that will have been agreed at European level by then," the ministers said.

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The borders were shut in mid-March to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, but the EU recommended on Thursday that the bloc reopen to some countries in the Balkans from July 1.

France has seen more than 193,000 cases and 424,000 deaths, while Spain dealt with 243,000 cases and 27,000 deaths. The UK has seen almost 300,000 cases and more than 40,000 deaths, the most in a European country.

Updated: June 13, 2020 03:35 AM

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