Travellers to France, including French citizens returning home, will face a compulsory two-week quarantine and possible isolation when they arrive in the country to help slow the spread of coronavirus, the health minister said on Saturday.
France, which has been the fifth-hardest hit country with 24,594 deaths from COVID-19, is preparing to gradually lift lockdown measures from May 11.
The new quarantine rules, however, will be included in a decree specifying measures laid out in a bill extending a state of emergency until July 24, a move that allows the government to restrict freedom of movement.
“This quarantine will be imposed on any person returning on French soil,” Health Minister Olivier Veran told a press briefing after the weekly cabinet meeting.
He said the duration and conditions of both quarantine for asymptomatic people and isolation for those showing symptoms of COVID-19, the flu-like disease caused by the new coronavirus, would be defined in a decree to be published.
Decisions to isolate people would be scrutinised by judges to ensure they are justified and fair, he added.
It was not immediately clear whether the quarantine would only apply to people arriving from outside Europe’s open-border Schengen area, whether they would need to self-isolate at home or in hotels, and for how long the measures would be in place.