Macron Threatened to Ban UK Travel if Boris Fails to Lock Down Britain

French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he addresses a meeting at the emergency crisis centre of The Interior Ministry in Paris on March 20, 2020, as France faces an aggressive progression of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). (Photo by GONZALO FUENTES / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GONZALO FUENTES/POOL/AFP via Getty …

French President Emanuel Macron threatened to ban travel from the United Kingdom if stricter measures were not enacted to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

In a phone call with Boris Johnson on Friday, Macron reportedly informed the British prime minister that should the UK continue with its lax policy on coronavirus, France would be forced to shut off travel from the UK.

“We clearly had to threaten him so that he would finally move,” a government official told the French newspaper Libération.

Confirming the veracity of the report, a senior French official told Politico: “We had prepared the closure of our border and told Prime Minister Johnson we would implement it that day if there was no evolution [of British measures].”

Following the phone call between the two leaders, Boris Johnson ordered pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas, and other public venues to close. The British government has claimed that the phone call with Macron did not influence the decision to enact stricter measures to fight the virus.

“As the PM said on Friday these new measures were taken based on scientific advice and following the government’s action plan set out two weeks ago,” a government official said.

Last week, the prime minister of France, Edouard Philippe, said that the UK was not adopting strong enough measures to contain the spread of the virus and warned that a travel ban would be enacted if the situation in the UK did not change.

“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,” Philippe said.

France has enacted some of the strictest lockdown measures in Europe, barring people from leaving their homes for fifteen days. Those who do venture outside are required to carry a government form to justify their reason for being outside or face getting fined up to €135 euros.

On Sunday, 112 people died from coronavirus, bringing the death toll since in the country to 674. The number of confirmed cases in the country rose by over 1,500 over the previous day, with 16,018 people infected with the virus.

In announcing the figures, France’s director-general of health, Jérôme Salomon said: “The virus kills and it is continuing to kill.”

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