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France bringing in checks to stop coronavirus-carrying skiers from crossing border

France bringing in checks to stop coronavirus-carrying skiers from crossing border
Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced that France will conduct random border checks to stop people infected with coronavirus from crossing its borders, as holidaymakers prepare to travel abroad to European ski resorts.

The measures are aimed at leveling the playing field between French resort operators and those in neighboring nations, as France is keeping its ski slopes closed to combat the spread of Covid-19. Castex told French broadcaster BFMTV, “The goal is to avoid French citizens getting contaminated. That will be done by installing random checks at the borders.” 

While France, Germany, and Italy are keeping their resorts closed, several key ski areas in Europe, including Austria and Switzerland, have opened theirs for the Christmas and New Year season – a vital time for the snow tourism industry. Spanish ski resorts are also set to reopen, once local restrictions ease enough to allow it. 

Also on rt.com Austria to open schools, shops and ski slopes as country eases Covid-19 lockdown for Christmas

European Union leaders have been attempting to coordinate plans ahead of the seasonal break, but so far, no agreement has been reached. Despite Swiss slopes already having opened, Castex claimed “the die has not been completely cast” and diplomacy is still in progress.

Local politicians in France have criticized the government’s actions, protesting the continued forced closure. Mayor Nicolas Rubin, in the French border town of Châtel, draped Swiss flags from the town hall to show his anger.

The World Health Organization has said that the concern is not people skiing per se, but the journey they will have to make to access the slopes, and their potential close mixing with other individuals in the area or at the resorts on arrival. 

Alongside the additional border checks, the French PM announced that the government will give the authorities the ability to order a seven-day quarantine if they deem it necessary.

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