Coronavirus is intensifying in France as it becomes the hardest-hit country in Europe after Italy. France has reported 212 cases of coronavirus and four people in the country have died from it. “France is now one of the main homes to the new virus in Europe, along with Italy and Germany,” said current affairs magazine Le Point yesterday.
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French President Emmanuel Macron has said the government was requisitioning all current and future stocks of face masks.
“We will distribute them to health professionals and to French people infected with the coronavirus,” Macron said on Twitter.
So how safe is it to travel to France at the moment?
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued travel advice on its website.
“There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus,” stated the FCO.
“The virus originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, but cases have been confirmed in other parts of China and in some other countries, including France where there is an ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Haute Savoie and Oise.
“The French authorities have indicated they may cancel some large events or gatherings of more than 5000 people.”
Around 120 schools have been closed in France so far in areas that have reported the largest numbers of coronavirus infections.
World-famous museum the Louvre closed for a second day on Monday. The museum is normally closed on a Tuesday.
However it appears to be set to open again today as yesterday, the museum’s Twitter account said: “Wednesday, March 4, 2020: the museum will open as soon as possible.
“We will keep you updated and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Cancelled events include the French capital’s annual book fair, Livre Paris, which was expected to bring some 160,000 visitors to Paris later this month.
This week, the European Centre for Disease and Prevention Control increased the risk of contracting coronavirus in Europe, now at “moderate to high”.
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How are flights to France affected?
easyJet and British Airways are among airlines announcing they are cancelling flights amid the coronavirus outbreak.
BA has axed a number of short-haul flights from the UK due to a drop in demand.
France flights from London are set to be affected, as are flights to New York, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Germany and Ireland.
The flight cancellations are set to take place this month and will affect hundreds of flights. These will be merged between March 16 and March 28.
A BA spokeswoman told Express.co.uk: “This is a fast-moving situation. We are following the advice from the relevant authorities.
“We will contact customers if flights are cancelled to discuss their options, including rebooking onto other carriers where possible, full refunds or booking with BA for a later date of travel.
“Customers can also find the latest information and options on BA.com.”
easyJet has said it will be grounding a selection of European flights, mainly to and from Italy, from 13 March until 31 March.
An easyJet spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We can confirm that we have taken the decision to cancel a number of flights mainly to and from Italy following a slowing in demand as a result of concerns over Covid-19.
“The cancellations are for some flights between 13 March and 31 March 2020, most of which have multiple daily frequencies.
“Customers are being contacted and moved onto flights operating on the same day or alternatively have been offered a full refund.
“Standard terms and conditions apply on all flights which are unaffected as they will be operating as normal.”
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