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No lockdown for France but crackdown on curfew breaches

Prime Minister Jean Castex says borders with non EU countries are to close with travel only allowed for urgent reasons and police will crackdown on any breach of the curfew rules

29 January 2021
By Sarah Smith (SA)

The French Prime Minister Jean Castex tonight made an announcement following an urgent ministerial meeting on the Covid pandemic.

Here are the key points:

  • No new lockdown to be imposed but stricter controls to see the curfew rules are met;

"The question of confinement is a legitimate one but we know the heavy impact it has on the country and people in all respects. We are going to give ourselves a chance to avoid it," said Mr Castex.

He added, "although the health situation remains better under control in France than in many of our neighbours, it is still a cause for concern."

  • Borders to be closed to travel from non European Union countries from Sunday with no entry or exit into France except for a "compelling reason";
  • Schools to remain open. Mr Castex did not specify this but also did not announce that schools would be closed. 
  • Everyone arriving in France from a European Union country to be subject to a PCR test with the exception of cross-border workers;
  • Strengthening of controls by police and a much stricter approach to anyone breaking the 18:00 - 06:00 curfew or organising clandestine parties and illegal openings;
  • Home working strictly favoured wherever possible;
  • The strategy of "test, alert and protect" to be amplified from next week. As well as barrier measures and mask wearing, testing and isolation should be carried out "at the slightest doubt";
  • Large, non-food shopping centres (more than 20,000m²) to be closed from Sunday.
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