Travellers entering France or the nation’s overseas territories will from Wednesday be required to carry a permit, the country’s Interior Ministry said.
The move, which comes into force with immediate effect, requires travellers to fill out a form to show at border crossings or before boarding a plane destined for French territory.
The form, which is available in English and French on the Interior Ministry website, asks passengers to state their reason for travel.
The requirement also applies to those needing to cross into France from another EU country to work.
Staff on ships and planes are also required to carry the document, the ministry said, as well as those involved in the transport of goods across French borders.
France has been under strict lockdown since mid March.
Under current rules, residents are required to carry with them a permit stating their reasons for leaving their houses.
Police are strictly enforcing the measures.
The crew members, who are under close medical supervision, have been put in isolation on board the vessel as a precaution.
They only recently began showing symptoms of the coronavirus, the ministry said in a statement.
The carrier’s medical ward is equipped with ventilators, it added.
The carrier is currently making its way back to its home port in the Mediterranean from the Atlantic.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
France sees COVID-19 patients in hospital down to 16,798
In a statement, the country’s Health Ministry said 16,798 people infected with the novel coronavirus were receiving treatment in hospital, down from 17,185 on Sunday.
The number of patients in intensive care units dropped by 46 to 1,609, it added. The update of the epidemic’s death tally would be unveiled on Tuesday.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in France slightly up
The number of patients hospitalized for the COVID-19 infection in France rose by seven to 17,185 in the last 24 hours, the first such increase since mid-April, according to data released on Sunday by the Health Ministry.
The number of patients in intensive care continued the downward trend, falling by 10 to 1,655.
The number of confirmed cases, meanwhile, rose to 144,921, an increase of 115 — the lowest daily increase since mid-March.
The overall death toll in hospitals and in social and medico-social establishments will be updated on Monday.
In the past two weeks of deconfinement, France has maintained almost all coronavirus-linked indicators in green. “But specialists remain cautious about a disease whose incubation time can reach 14 days. The coming week promises to be crucial for the risk of a new wave of contamination,” reported BFM Television.
The government planned to enter a second phase of deconfinement on June 2 if the sanitary situation remains encouraging.
France’s 1st known COVID-19 case found last December: media reports
Citing a doctor at Avicenne and Jean-Verdier hospitals near Paris, BBC reported that the patient “must have been infected between 14 and 22 December, as coronavirus symptoms take between five and 14 days to appear.”
France sees further decline in coronavirus-related hospitalizations
As of Friday, 17,383 COVID-19 patients remained in hospitals, a one-day decline of 200, confirming a downward trend reported since early April. Of the hospitalized, 1,701 are in intensive care, down by 44 over the past 24 hours, the country’s health ministry said.
Since the start of the epidemic, 100,038 people have been hospitalized for coronavirus infection. Of them, 64,209 people have left hospitals.
France to hold delayed 2nd round of municipal elections on June 28
France has decided to organize the delayed second round of mayoral elections on June 28, which Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Friday is “reversible” if the coronavirus epidemic situation turns against it.
“On May 27, we will present a decree calling voters to the polls on June 28,” Philippe said at a joint press conference with Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.
Of France‘s 35,000 cities, towns and villages, about 30,000 already elected their mayors in the first round on March 15. But many large cities are among those remaining, including Paris, Lyon and Marseille, according to state-owned broadcaster France 24.
Philippe admitted that consultations with opposition representatives did not reach consensus but the government has to take responsibility and “the democratic life should resume.”
However, if the epidemic unfortunately rebounds, the polls will be postponed until next January at the latest, he added. The opinion of the government’s scientific advisory council will be heard two weeks ahead of the scheduled voting.
Castaner announced that wearing a mask and washing hands with hydroalcoholic gel would be compulsory for voting on June 28 and this material will be supplied by the communities assisted by the State.
As of Thursday, France‘s death toll from coronavirus topped 28,000 while new infections and patients in intensive care continued to decrease. Since May 11, the country has gradually eased restriction measures on business activities and people’s movement with the aim to relaunch the hard-hit economy.
France’s 2nd round of municipal polls scheduled for June 28: PM
France’s coronavirus-linked deaths at 28,215
France on Thursday saw the death toll from the coronavirus increasing to 28,215 with 83 new deaths in the last 24 hours, lower than Wednesday’s 110, according to figures released by the country’s Health Ministry.
Fatalities recorded in hospitals rose by 58 to 17,870, while 25 succumbed to COVID-19 at nursing homes, bringing the total to 10,345.
In a sign that pressure on the French hospital system continued to ease, the number of people hospitalized with coronavirus infection declined by 358 to 17,583. Some 1,745 patients were in critical condition requiring life support, down by 49 in the last 24 hours.
As of Thursday, 318 new positive cases were detected, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 144,163, while a total of 63,858 patients had been discharged from hospital after recovery, a single day increase of 504.
“It is our ability to respect all good behavior that conditions the epidemic speed: protect ourselves, protect our loved ones, help health staff to break the chain of contamination by facilitating the strategy of testing, finding contact persons and isolation,” the ministry said in a statement.
Air France flight from Brazil makes emergency landing in Lisbon
An airplane coming from the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro and bound for Paris had to make an emergency landing at Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport at noon on Thursday.
According to information from Portugal Airports (ANA), the emergency landing was made to provide medical assistance to a passenger who felt sick during the flight.
The passenger has already been taken to a hospital, Portuguese private broadcaster CMTV reported.
Also according to the airport control body in Portugal, there were no other repercussions and delays and the flight had already followed its planned route in the early afternoon.
It is a Boeing 777 aircraft from Air France with flight ID AF407, which left Brazil on Wednesday night local time.
France’s coronavirus fatalities rise by 110 to 28,132
Since the start of the epidemic, 99,616 people have been hospitalized for coronavirus infection, including 17,607 in intensive care. And 63,354 people considered to be cured were able to leave the hospital.
On the tenth day after the nearly two-month lockdown ended, “the virus remains active and still spreads in France,” the ministry warned, urging strict respect of barrier gestures and social distancing.
COVID-19 sounds death knell for Air France’s A380 superjumbos
Previously, it had planned to phase them out by the end of 2022, but has now decided the A380s will not return to service.
Manufacturer Airbus last year announced that it would end production of the superjumbo, the world’s biggest passenger jet, in 2021.
According to Airbus’ April order book, there are only nine outstanding A380 orders – eight with Emirates, which owns almost half of the world’s 240 operational A380s, and one with All Nippon Airways.
The four-engine double-decker, which can carry up to 853 passengers, has long struggled to find buyers, with airlines preferring the flexibility and lower cost of wide-body twin-engine aircrafts.
Air France said the phasing out of its A380s would make its fleet more competitive, using “more modern, high-performance aircraft with a significantly reduced environmental footprint.”
The superjumbos will be replaced by Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s, both widebody twin-engine jets.
The company said it would book an estimated 500-million-euro (549-million-dollar) write-down cost for the phasing out of the A380 fleet to its second quarter results of 2020.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Roundup: France, Germany announce unprecedented 500-bln-euro EU recovery fund
France and Germany on Monday jointly proposed that the European Commission borrow money on capital markets in the European Union’s (EU) name and create a 500-billion-euro (546 billion U.S. dollars) recovery fund to help the coronavirus-battered European economies and regions.
Describing the proposal as “a major step forward,” French President Emmanuel Macron told a joint video press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that it was the first time France and Germany agreed to let the EU raise debt jointly.
The proposal is seen as unprecedented since it overcomes objections from Germany and several other rich EU countries to the concept of collective borrowing.
Merkel said the unusual nature of the COVID-19 crisis made the two countries choose an unusual way. “The goal is for Europe to emerge from this crisis stronger, more cohesive and in solidarity,” she said.
“The recovery fund will be endowed with 500 billion euros in EU budget spending for the most affected sectors and regions based on EU budget programs and in line with European priorities,” said the two countries in a joint statement.
“It will strengthen the resilience, convergence and competitiveness of European economies, and increase investment, in particular in ecological and digital transitions and in research and innovation,” it said.
Macron said the 500 billion euros “will be devoted to sectors that are not only technological. It is a strong economic response that will help fight unemployment in the most vulnerable regions,” he said.
“It will not consist of loans, it’s a budgetary expenditure, which would be attributed to the most affected sectors and regions. We are convinced that this measure is justified,” Merkel said.
“We must act in a European way so that we get out of the crisis well and strengthened,” she said. “When Germany and France take the initiative, then this encourages the opinion-making process in the EU.”
The European Commission is to present the details of the economic recovery program in Brussels on May 27. Paris and Berlin still have to convince other member states — The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries, in particular — to follow them.
But “the fact that the Franco-German couple has agreed on the main lines of a recovery plan financed by a common debt of European states, issued by the Union and spent through the European budget, is in itself a revolution,” commented the French daily Le Monde.
“Berlin, which was upwind at the end of March against anything that, in one way or another, amounts to pooling the debt of Europeans, is today in agreement to embark on this path,” added the daily.
Paris and Berlin also agreed to raise research and development capacities in the field of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, set up joint strategic stocks of pharmaceutical and medical products, and increase the production capacities of these products in the EU.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the proposal.
“It acknowledges the scope and the size of the economic challenge that Europe faces, and rightly puts the emphasis on the need to work on a solution with the European budget at its core,” she said in a statement.
Coronavirus death toll tops 28,000 in France
Hospitals reported 54 new deaths while retirement homes, which represent a third of the country’s total fatalities, reported a one-day rise of 429 deaths.
The number of people in hospital with coronavirus infection fell to 19,361 from 19,432 on Saturday, consolidating a continued decline now entering its seventh week. The number of people in intensive care reported a similar downtrend and fell by 45 to 2,087.
A total of 142,411 people have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak and 61,213 patients have recovered.
France cautiously eased the two-month lockdown on Monday to relaunch its battered economy. The first impact of de-confinement would be evaluated “within 10 to 15 days,” Health Minister Olivier Veran told local newspaper Le Journal de Dimanche early Sunday.
New single-day deaths from COVID-19 continue to drop in France
France had registered 96 new deaths from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, fewer than the previous two 24-hour periods, while the balance of the coronavirus-related hospitalization remains negative, France‘s Health Ministry said on Saturday.
According to the ministry, the 96 new single-day deaths were lower than 104 registered on Friday and 351 on Thursday. So far, 27,625 people have succumbed to the coronavirus-caused disease across France.
In a statement, the ministry said the number of patients with the coronavirus, now at 19,432, was below 20,000 for the second consecutive day, of whom 2,132 were receiving intensive treatment, down by 71.
As of Saturday, the country had recorded 142,291 confirmed cases, a single-day increase of 372, slower than Friday’s 563. A total of 61,066 patients had recovered and returned home since early March.
Rwandan genocide suspect arrested in France
After 26 years on the run, Felicien Kabuga, alleged to have been a leading figure in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, has been arrested in Paris, France‘s public prosecutor’s office and the police announced on Saturday in a joint statement.
Kabuga, now aged 84, once one of Rwanda’s richest men and accused of financing the genocide, has been living under a false identity in a flat in Asnieres-Sur-Seine on Paris suburbs, said the statement.
Kabuga was indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1997 on seven counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution and extermination, all in relation to crimes committed during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
The United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) hailed the arrest. Its Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz stated that “the arrest of Felicien Kabuga today is a reminder that those responsible for genocide can be brought to account, even twenty-six years after their crimes.”
Rwandan genocide suspect arrested in France
France reports 104 COVID-19 deaths in last 24 hours, hospitalization below 20,000
With 104 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, France saw its death toll of the epidemic rising to 27,529 on Friday while the number of patients hospitalized for the infection fell below 20,000, the Health Ministry data showed.
In detail, 17,342 people died in hospitals, and 10,187 in nursing homes and other medico-social establishments. 19,861 people are now hospitalized for COVID-19 infection, a figure that has been falling steadily for several weeks.
Among the hospitalized, 2,203 people remain in intensive care, down by 96 compared to the previous day.
In total, 141,919 cases of infection have been confirmed in France, 563 more than Thursday evening’s. And 60,448 people considered to be cured have been able to leave the hospital since the start of the epidemic.
Also on Friday, the national statistics institute INSEE said that the number of all causes of deaths in France in 2020 is 22 percent higher compared to the same period in 2019.
“At the national level, the number of total deaths that occurred between March 1 and May 4, 2020 is higher than that recorded over the same periods in 2019 or 2018: 133,678 deaths were recorded in 2020 in France against 109,265 in 2019 and 117,018 in 2018,” said INSEE in its report. “The number of deaths in France is thus 22 percent higher than that recorded at the same time in 2019 and 14 percent higher than in 2018″.
All the municipalities do not transmit the number of registered deaths at the same speed, which means that the published figures must be reassessed regularly, it added.
Coronavirus-linked rare disease kills 9-year-old in France, 135 cases identified in total
A medical team from La Timone University Hospital in Marseille in southern France said he was the first victim of the disease in France and the second in Europe after the death of a boy in the United Kingdom.
“The child presented symptoms that resembled Kawasaki disease and his serology indicated that he had been in contact with the coronavirus without developing symptoms in the previous weeks,” said Professor Fabrice Michel, head of the hospital’s pediatric resuscitation service.
The child spent a week in intensive pediatric care before cardiac arrest and subsequent brain damage led to his death, said the doctor, adding that studies are underway on a possible association between coronavirus and Kawasaki disease.
Kawasaki disease is a rare inflammatory disease, which attacks mainly infants and small children. The symptoms include high fever, rashes, swollen glands, pink eyes and heart inflammation in serious cases.
Inflammation of blood vessels and cardiac damage are much more pronounced in cases suspected of being linked to COVID-19 compared with classic Kawasaki disease, France‘s public health agency said on Thursday.
France’s Macron calls in Sanofi boss after vaccine comments
The chief executive of French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi will report to the Elysee Palace on Tuesday for a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron, the president’s office said on Friday.
The development comes amid growing outrage in France after Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson indicated to news agency Bloomberg that the U.S would get priority access to any novel coronavirus vaccine the firm may develop.
Bloomberg cited Hudson as saying that because the U.S was investing in work on the vaccine, it would have the right to the biggest pre-order and would probably get it days or weeks ahead of other countries.
President Emmanuel Macron, who has argued that any vaccine for the coronavirus should be considered a global public good, was `indignant at Hudson’s comments, the Elysee said on Thursday.
Sanofi chairman Serge Weinberg sought to limit the damage on Thursday evening, telling France 2 television that there would be no particular head start for any country.
Sanofi has two vaccines under development, one of them in conjunction with the U.S. government, and says it hopes to get them approved between the middle and second half of next year.
Edited By: Halima Sheji/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
France starts gradually lifting two-month lockdown
Signs meaning “keep social distances” are seen on the seats of the train station in Lille, northern France, May 14, 2020. From Monday, France started gradually lifting the two-month lockdown thanks to decelerating positive cases and the improved situation in hospitals. (Photo by Sebastien Courdji/Xinhua)
France’s COVID-19 deaths rise by 351 to 27,425
France on Thursday reported 351 new coronavirus-related deaths, a significant increase over the 83 fatalities registered a day earlier, while the number of patients hospitalized or admitted to intensive care units continued to decline, figures released by the Health Ministry showed.
Since March 1, 27,425 people have died from respiratory failure. More than a third of these fatalities (10,201) occurred in retirement homes. Currently 20,463 people are hospitalized with coronavirus infection, 608 less than on Wednesday. The number of patients in intensive care decreased by 129 to 2,299.
A total of 141,356 people have tested positive for the coronavirus to date, including 622 new infections confirmed in the last 24 hours. The number of patients who recovered stood at 59,605.
On Monday, France started to gradually lift the two-month lockdown after the number of positive cases has been decreasing and the situation in hospitals improving.
On condition they put in place safety precautions, businesses can now resume, students can return to schools and shops can reopen.
Cafes and restaurants may also reopen after June 2 in the so-called “green” zones, where the outbreak is not as bad as elsewhere. However, the health protocols must continue to be fully respected.
France’s unemployment rate down to 7.8 pct in Q1: Insee
France‘s unemployed decreased by 94,000 to 2.3 million in the first quarter this year, bringing its unemployment rate down by 0.3 percentage point to 7.8 percent, but “this result did not reflect an improvement in the labour market,” the country’s national statistics institute Insee said on Thursday.
“The fall in the unemployment rate resulted from a sharp fall in the number of jobless persons declaring themselves available or actively looking for work during the period of lockdown,” explained Insee in its quarterly report.
“The confinement period indeed strongly affected both active job search behaviour (for unemployed persons whose preferred sector of activity is at a standstill, for example), and availability of persons (childcare constraint, for example),” it said.
In the absence of lockdown, the joblessness rate would have been virtually stable at 8.2 percent, it added.
During the coronavirus outbreak, the French government has enabled expedited procedures for employers to facilitate partial unemployment scheme to avoid massive lay-offs. So far, 12.2 million people are partially unemployed, according to the Ministry of Labor.
Under the scheme, the employer pays its employees on temporary leave most of their salary. The state will then reimburse businesses in full for salaries up to 4.5 times the minimum wage.