France advises citizens not to travel to Catalonia

France is advising it citizens not to travel to the Spanish region of Catalonia in order to help contain the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Friday.

Regional authorities across Spain introduced fresh coronavirus restrictions on Thursday aimed at stamping out a surge in infections. France had said last weekend it had not ruled out closing the border between the two countries.

In Catalonia, nearly 8,000 cases were diagnosed in the 14 days up to Thursday - almost half of the 16,410 detected throughout the country - despite guidelines for residents of regional capital Barcelona to stay at home.

“Concerning the situation in Catatonia, which is displaying worsened indicators for infection, we strongly encourage French citizens to avoid going there until the health situation improves,” Castex told reporters.

He also said Paris was in discussions with the government in Madrid to limit flows of traffic from Spain into France as much as possible.

In France, the public health authority said on Thursday there had been a significant rise in confirmed, new cases of people suffering from COVID-19, as the number of deaths in the country edged up.

Castex, who was speaking on the sidelines of a visit to Charles-de-Gaulle international airport, north of Paris, also said the government planned to reinforce controls at France’s borders in the hope of better containing the pandemic.

People arriving from sixteen countries outside the European Union where the infection rate is deemed to be high will be subject to compulsory testing on arrival at French airports and sea ports. Those who test positive will be required to enter quarantine.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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