On Sunday 10th May, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave an update on his government’s plans to “reopen” society later this week. During his speech he said he was “serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air.”
The policy was initially short on detail, and more information should emerge over the coming days, but it has already been confirmed that passengers arriving from France will be exempt from any future quarantine period.
President Macron announced last week that passengers from the UK would not face a quarantine period when arriving in France and following Johnson’s speech, No 10 confirmed a reciprocal deal with the government in Paris meant restrictions would not also apply to passengers arriving in the UK from France.
Yesterday evening, the Elysée clarified that “Any person, whatever their nationality, arriving from other EU countries, the Schengen zone or the UK” would not be required to self-isolate for two weeks on arrival. On Saturday, the health minister, Olivier Véran, had stated that quarantine measures would apply “to people entering the national territory or arriving in an overseas territory” or Corsica. The statement will be a relief for many expats hoping to meet up with loved ones in the coming months, once the restrictions on travel are gradually lifted.
The government did confirm, however, that those arriving in France from a foreign country and testing positive for coronavirus can still be placed in quarantine for up to 30 days.
The news came as France, Italy and Spain all recorded their lowest death rates in several weeks. The latest figures showed 135 deaths in France, the lowest figure since late March and encouraging news as the nation prepares for the end of lockdown from 11th May.
With the end of lockdown in sight for many, the government has unveiled what a post-confinement France will look like and what you will soon be able to do again.
Following confirmation in a televised address by Prime Minister Eduoard Philippe, the lockdown will finally end for many from Monday 11th May, although life will not be the same as before. While there will no longer be a need to carry a form when you leave the house, certain travel restrictions will remain in place and not all of the country will end confinement in the same way.
The new de-confinement rules unveiled represent phase one of a longer-term plan and will run from 11th May to 2nd June. Departments will be classified as either green or red when confinement finally ends, with stricter measures in place for those in red. For the time being, the majority of SW France has been given green status; the status for each department is being reviewed daily until 7th May, the date on which a definitive decision will be taken. In red departments “there will be the possibility of closing schools if necessary, or of closing a certain number of shops and outdoor places,” Health Minister Olivier Véran explained when revealing the first indicative maps on 30th April.
The 1st of May brings with it the French tradition of the giving and receiving of small bouquets of muguets, or lily of the valley. Although the flower has become associated with Labour Day, which is the official status of the May 1st public holiday in France and across much of the world, it has its roots in the Renaissance court of Charles IX, nearly 500 years ago.
Flowering as it does in the month of May and symbolising for many the regeneration of spring and the promise of a prosperous season ahead, it was given by Charles IX to those around him on the 1st May 1561 to bring them good luck.