France calls nineteen regions ‘red zone’, possibly stricter travel advice | NOW

France has designated nineteen new regions as so-called red zones due to the increasing number of corona infections. Previously, Bouches-du-Rhône and the Paris area had already turned red, giving local authorities the freedom to take additional measures.

Bordeaux, Toulouse and Lyon are some of the major cities affected. The entire southern coast of the Mediterranean turns red, up to the border at Italy. In the west it concerns the department of Gironde, while on the border with Spain Haute-Garonne turns red. Lyon is located in the new red zone Rhône.

For example, local governments in red zones may restrict residents’ freedom of movement and close roads to limit traffic. In addition, public transport can be stopped and public buildings can be closed.

Screenshot of French television with all red zones. (Photo: French government)

French red zones previously led to more stringent Dutch travel advice

A total of 21 areas are now colored red. France’s decision may lead to a new, tightened Dutch travel advice, as the travel advice for Paris and Bouches-du-Rhône was also tightened due to an increased contamination level, after they were designated as red zones.

A negative travel advice already applies in the Netherlands for some new red zones. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment is reviewing the local health situation. “In addition, severe restrictions on freedom of movement can be a reason to tighten up travel advice.”

The spokesperson thus refers to the orange travel advice for Cyprus. That country has announced that from Friday the Dutch will have to be quarantined for two weeks upon arrival. The Netherlands therefore decided to issue an orange travel advice.

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Reproduction number in France increased to 1.4; more and more positive tests

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said during a television speech that additional measures were necessary to slow down the flare-up of the corona virus. According to him, the reproduction number, which indicates how many people are infected by one corona patient, has risen to 1.4.

In addition, more and more French people are testing positive for the corona virus. After the lockdown, the average was 1 percent. In recent weeks, that average has risen to 3.7 percent, while much more is being tested. Last week, France administered 664,000 corona tests, while a total of six million tests have been taken since the start of the pandemic.

New infections are mainly observed in the Paris region, but (young) French people are also becoming infected with the virus elsewhere in the country. In the French capital, it is now mandatory in the entire city to wear masks, the prime minister announced.

France is considering new lockdown to inhibit virus outbreak

Castex stressed that the government is keeping all scenarios open to stop the virus, including another lockdown.

The prime minister said that at the moment, people are working hard to ensure French hospitals are not under pressure. That is why vulnerable in society must be protected, argues Castex.

He asks French elderly to be extra careful from now on and, for example, no longer pick up children from school. To inform the population, the French Ministry of Health will start with weekly updates on the corona situation in the country next week.

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