French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that restrictions in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are to be eased in three phases, starting from Saturday, November 28. From Saturday, all businesses except for bars, restaurants, cultural venues, and sports facilities may reopen with a closing time of 21:00 (local time). Additionally, limits on movement have been eased to permit trips of up to three hours at a distance of 20km (12.5mi) and religious services may resume with a capacity of 30 people. Working from home is to remain encouraged.
President Macron announced that the second phase of easing would come on December 15. The total lockdown is to be lifted and cinemas, theatres, and museums may reopen, although a 21:00 to 07:00 lockdown will be in place and gatherings will be prohibited. The final phase will come on January 20 if daily infections are below 5000. All businesses will be permitted to reopen and in-person teaching will resume in schools, with universities following 15 days later.
As of Tuesday, November 24, there have been 2,206,126 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 50,324 associated fatalities in France. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on the skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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.