France Orders 15-Day Curfew & Strongly Discourages Travel Abroad Over COVID Variant Concerns



France has joined the ranks of the UK, Japan, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, and a growing list of other nations in taking steps to prevent – or at least reduce – the introduction of the new COVID variants springing up around the globe. 

In a press conference yesterday, the Prime Minister of France announced a curfew lasting at least 15 days would go into effect on Saturday in order to curb the spread of the virus, along with new travel requirements and restrictions. 

On January 14, 2021, the Prime Minister announced the advancement of the curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. throughout the metropolitan territory from Saturday January 16, 2021 for a minimum duration of 15 days.


The objective of the curfew is to limit gatherings during which barrier measures are less well applied and where the virus circulates quickly while limiting the impact on the economy already strained by the epidemic.


Outings and trips without a derogatory certificate are therefore prohibited from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. throughout mainland France, under penalty of a fine of € 135 and up to € 3,750 in the event of a repeat offense.


In addition, given the risk of the spread of variant strains of COVID-19, the cross-border flow will be reduced. From Monday, January 18, 2021, travelers coming from a country outside the European Union will have to present a negative PCR test to enter the national territory and undertake on their honor to respect a septaine.


In the rare countries where it is not possible to carry out a PCR test, an arrival screening system will be set up with a compulsory septage in a place of accommodation validated by the public authorities.

In addition, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères) posted the following announcement regarding travel abroad.


Strict travel restrictions are needed to slow the progression of the epidemic around the world, due to the very active circulation of the COVID-19 virus and its variants (the figures for the pandemic can be viewed on the website of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control ). Therefore, any international travel – from abroad to France and from France to abroad – is totally and strictly discouraged until further notice. When a displacement for compelling reasons is nevertheless necessary, it is necessary to respect the restrictive measures put in place on entry into French territory with the objective of limiting the spread of the virus (see below).

Given the unpredictability and the rapid evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the measures taken by States all over the world, with a very short deadline, to limit the movement of travelers, the color of the cards travel advice does not currently take this epidemic risk into account, on an exceptional basis. Regularly updated information on the evolution of the pandemic is however available in the “last minute” section of travel advice, on the website of the Ministry of Solidarity and Health and on the website of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. . It is also recommended to consult the map drawn up by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Other than increased transmissibility (which is bad enough), the threat from these variants remain largely unquantified, but nations already struggling with the old virus have little appetite for any more surprises. 

So, until we know more about the threat, the global trend appears headed towards more lockdowns and restrictions, not less.