France has extended its “state of health emergency,” put in place to curb the transmission of the CCP virus, by two months, Health Minister Olivier Véran said on May 2, adding that most travelers entering the country will be quarantined for 14 days.
Véran said the country’s health emergency will be extended through July 24, as part of updated measures proposed to limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
The state of emergency allows the government to restrict freedom of movement, business, and gathering by decree.
The announcement from the health minister follows a proposal from Prime Minister Edouard Philippe last week that on May 11, France would gradually ease out of its six-week lockdown due to damage to the economy.
Véran said it would “be premature” to lift the public health emergency, adding that the country “could see a risk of the outbreak” intensifying, France 24 reported.
“We are going to have to perform a long-distance run,” he told reporters at a press briefing after the weekly cabinet meeting.
As part of the measures, most travelers to France, including returning citizens, will face a compulsory two-week quarantine and possible isolation upon arrival to help slow the spread of the virus, the health minister said.
“This quarantine will be imposed on any person returning on French soil,” Véran told reporters.
The French consulate in Britain said on May 3 that travelers to France who arrive from a country in Europe’s Schengen open-border area or Britain will be exempt from the quarantine measures.
The proposals will be sent to Parliament this week, and further details are expected in the coming days, AFP reported. It’s expected to become law by the end of the week.
The health minister said the duration and conditions of both quarantine for asymptomatic people and isolation for those showing symptoms of COVID-19 would be defined in a decree to be published.
Decisions to isolate people would be scrutinized by judges to ensure they are justified and fair, he said.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether those arriving in the country would need to self-isolate at home or in hotels, or for how long the measures would be in place.
France—one of the countries hardest-hit by the pandemic—has reported more than 168,900 cases of the CCP virus, with at least 24,900 deaths, according to a tracking map by Johns Hopkins University that collates official government data.
As of May 11, people in France will no longer be required to carry a written justification explaining why they have left their homes. Masks must be worn when using public transport.
Reuters contributed to this report.