On Sunday, April 19, French health authorities announced the total number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases confirmed in the country has reached 151,793, including 19,718 associated deaths.
French President Emmanuel Macron earlier announced on Monday, April 13, that the nationwide lockdown would be extended until Monday, May 11, to curb the spread of COVID-19. Under the lockdown measures, individuals are prohibited from leaving their homes except for essential needs, such as shopping for food or seeking medical assistance. The announcement came after authorities in Paris implemented new restrictions on Wednesday, April 8, which banned outdoor exercise between 10:00 and 19:00 (local time). Authorities also introduced an International Circulation Declaration on Monday. April 6. The declaration is required for all travelers seeking to transit through French territories and applies to all forms of transportation. Travel between metropolitan France and overseas territories are also affected by the measure.
On Thursday, April 9, Air France-KLM, a Franco-Dutch airline, announced that most of its fleet will be grounded over the coming weeks amid a global drop in consumer demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company recorded a 57 percent drop in passengers in March. As such, officials announced that approximately 90 percent of the Air France-KLM fleet will be grounded in April and May. Key routes between the two main hubs, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS), will nonetheless be maintained. Due to the global travel restrictions in place, further business details beyond May were unable to be immediately provided, according to the airline's management.
Further international spread of COVID-19 is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.