France lockdown: Is France still in lockdown? Can I travel to France?

France was forced into a second lockdown in October following a huge spike in cases and intensive care capacity being nearly overrun as the virus made its way through Europe once again. Emmanuel Macron, the French President, announced that lockdown rules will ease slightly in the coming days and the number of cases has dropped.

Data shows the second lockdown is having the desired effect, with the number of new cases per day dropping from 50,000 in early November, to just shy of 5000 toward the end of the month.

However, the pressure on intensive care units is still alarmingly high.

COVID-19 occupancy on Monday was at 87.8 percent, according to Government data, and daily deaths still remain in the hundreds.

The decision to ease restrictions comes on the approach to Christmas, with world leaders warning that Christmas will look very different this year.

Europe, on the whole, has been wary of potential coronavirus festive surges, with several countries outlining specific plans for meeting up and travelling during the Christmas period.

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Is France still in lockdown?

France is indeed still in lockdown, but restrictions will ease this weekend following a month of harsh restrictions.

The French President Emmanuel Macron has outlined several steps for easing lockdown, taking place over a number of weeks and subject to review.

While not as strict as the spring lockdown, with schools being open and some people still going to work, residents of France have not been allowed to leave their homes for non-essential reasons since October 30.

From this Saturday, November 28:

• Non-essential retail can reopen, until 9pm and under strict conditions

• The 1km rule will be scrapped for exercise. Instead people will be allowed to exercise for up to three hours a day, and go a distance of up to 20km from their homes.

• Extra-curricular activities at schools can restart, but only if they take place outside

• Religious services will be allowed again – but for no more than 30 people while maintaining social distancing

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President Emmanuel Macron said: “We have passed the peak of the second wave. Our efforts, your efforts, have paid off.

“We have slowed down the circulation of the virus. . . Today we have reached 5,000 cases per day.

“We still have several weeks in front of us to reach the goals that I have set,” Macron said, referring to decreasing hospital patient numbers further.

“To do that, we must continue for several weeks to avoid activities in enclosed places that accelerate the spread of the virus and limit gatherings as much as possible.”

The next stage will take place on December 15, which will include travel restrictions being lifted and small gatherings allowed.

If all goes well, some of the hospitality industry and gyms will be able to reopen from January 20.

Can I travel to France?

In his speech, Mr Macron did not touch on international travel or when restrictions for entering and leaving the country would ease.

Travelling in and out of France is currently not restricted from within the EU and Schengen area.

However normal quarantine rules apply if you need to travel from the UK to France.

Travel from outside Europe, however, is still limited to essential trips only and reopening EU borders will be done on a coordinated level within the EU.

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