France starts testing travelers from 16 nations for virus

Travelers, wearing protective face masks, line up at the Orly Airport, south of Paris on August 1, 2020 during a major weekend of the French summer holidays. (AFP)
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Updated 01 August 2020

France starts testing travelers from 16 nations for virus

  • France is not permitting general travel to and from the 16 countries, which include the United States and Brazil
  • The French government has so far ruled out imposing another nationwide lockdown after the one that brought the country to a standstill for nearly two months between March and May

PARIS: Travelers entering France from 16 countries where the coronavirus is circulating widely are having to undergo virus tests upon arrival at French airports and ports.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced last month that the tests would be required starting Aug. 1 for the arriving passengers France is allowing in from the listed countries unless they present proof of a negative test done within 72 hours of their departure.
Those who test positive in France as of Saturday must quarantine for 14 days.
France is not permitting general travel to and from the 16 countries, which include the United States and Brazil. The testing requirement therefore only applies to people entering under limited circumstances — “French citizens who live in these countries or citizens of these countries with an established residence in France,” Castex has said.
Daniel Court was tested at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport after coming in from the French Riviera city of Nice. He acknowledged not loving the experience.
“It’s very fast, but I have to say that it’s not very pleasant. It is surprising. But we have to do it,” Court said.
Another passenger who got tested after landing at Paris’ main airport, Nadia Vusik of Belarus, said she thought the new policy made sense.
“It is definitely necessary, and I am happy that in France it is possible to do right here. It’s very convenient.”
Health authorities have said that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has jumped on the French mainland in recent weeks. The government previously made mask-wearing mandatory in all indoor public spaces.
The French government has so far ruled out imposing another nationwide lockdown after the one that brought the country to a standstill for nearly two months between March and May.


North Korea brings aid supplies to border town under coronavirus lockdown

Updated 5 min 7 sec ago

North Korea brings aid supplies to border town under coronavirus lockdown

  • Lockdown imposed on Kaesong last month after a person, who defected to South Korea in 2017, returned showing coronavirus symptoms

SEOUL: North Korea’s ruling party has delivered special aid packages of food and medical equipment to residents of Kaesong, near the border with the South, after imposing a lockdown there due to COVID-19 concerns, state media said on Sunday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared an emergency and imposed a lockdown on the small border town last month after a person, who defected to South Korea in 2017, returned to Kaesong across the highly fortified border showing coronavirus symptoms.
Pyongyang has not confirmed any coronavirus infections but has been taking strict quarantine measures and screening the town, while providing food, test kits and other medical equipment, according to state media.
State television on Sunday showed a train arriving at the Kaesong station and trucks delivering supplies to residents.
Separately, hundreds of people wearing masks and sitting apart from one another gathered at a party auditorium to thank authorities for the aid, with some breaking down in tears, footage showed.
The official KCNA news agency said the shipments arrived on Friday to help the residents cope with the lockdown, which “may lead to a deadly and destructive disaster.”
North Korea has not formally confirmed that the man in question tested positive for the virus. Seoul officials have said the 24-year-old returned to the North after facing a sexual assault investigation in the South.
South Korean health officials said there was no sign he was infected before he crossed the border, and at least two people who were in close contact with him have tested negative.
South Korea has confirmed 14,598 coronavirus cases and 305 COVID-19 deaths, the Korea Centers for Disease Prevention and Control said on Sunday.