France To Enact UK Travel Ban if Britain Fails to Lockdown Country Amidst Coronavirus

A woman with protective mask walks by the Esplanade du Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, on March 18, 2020 in Paris as a strict lockdown comes into in effect in France to stop the spread of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus. - A strict lockdown requiring …
LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

The Prime Minister of France warned that if the United Kingdom doesn’t enact stricter measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Britons will be banned from travelling to France.

On Tuesday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe accused the UK of falling behind its European counterparts in containing the coronavirus pandemic, warning that France may be forced to restrict travel from Britain if Boris Johnson fails to enact similar lockdown measures.

“Everyone within the European Union must adopt coherent methods and processes to fight the epidemic, as in Italy, France and Spain,” Mr Philippe said per the Daily Mail.

“It goes without saying that if neighbouring states such as the United Kingdom spend too long continuing to avoid these containment measures, then we would have difficulty accepting British nationals who would move freely in their own country and then come to our country,” the Prime Minister added.

The warning from Mr Phillipe came on the first day of a national lockdown in France, in which citizens have been told to remain in their homes for fifteen days.

In what has been described as the “most restrictive measures in force in Europe“, members of the French public are now required to fill out a form justifying why they have left their homes.

Cities across France were deserted after the lockdown came into effect. The country has seen over 6,600 people infected with the coronavirus, with 148 people dying from the deadly illness.

France has limited border crossings from other members of the European Union’s visa-free Schengen Zone, however, Britons are still permitted in the country. France has also ordered restaurants, shops and cafes to close.  The United Kingdom on the other hand has advised against frequenting pubs and other public establishments– but has refrained from ordering them to close.

A ban on travel from the UK would have massive economic consequences, as millions of Britons have professional ties with the country, representing the largest foreign visitor group in Paris.

On Tuesday, the British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab issued travel advice for the UK, telling citizens to avoid travelling to other countries for the next 30 days.

“UK travellers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lockdowns in various countries,” Mr Raab said per The Times.

“The [Foreign Office] will always consider the safety and the security of British nationals so with immediate effect I’ve taken the decision to advise British nationals against non-essential travel globally for an initial period of 30 days and of course subject to ongoing review,” Raab added.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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