France is among one of the countries around the world that has reported one of the highest cases of the the novel coronavirus known as Covid-19. This article aims to provide objective information to those who are contemplating on whether or not visiting Paris this spring would be low-risk.
As of March 16, 2020
According to Travel-Advisory.info which is an official website that consolidates all travel advisories from different countries around the world, the danger level of traveling to France has now been raised to 3.3 (out of 5). This rating means that “caution is advised” when traveling the country. Whereas the rating for Italy is 4.1 and categorized as a destination that needs to be ‘reconsidered’.
*NEW* The US has just announced a travel ban on all European countries part of the Schengen zone that will go into effect on Friday at midnight. According to the news, this ban will not affect American citizens, residents, and their family members from traveling back to the US but might be subject to strict screening upon return.
|A ‘do not travel’ advisory is only given when the country’s level reaches 5.|
What you’ll find in this article:
– Details about the coronavirus in Paris
– Where the Coronavirus has spread in France
– Restrictions on traveling to France from other countries
– Advice on how to prepare for your trip to Paris
– Local news from Paris about fake French police
Coronavirus in Paris
Cases for Covid-19 have been reported throughout France, including Paris. However, there have been no reported cases of tourists who have been infected with the virus during a trip.
1 – All cultural and commercial establishments have been ordered to shut down. This includes museums, cinemas, theaters, shopping centers etc.
2 – Public transport still works however, changes are expected to enforce the limitation of movement.
3 – Please click here to read on more details on how Covid-19 affects different attractions in Paris.
Coronavirus in France as a whole
As of today (March 12, 2020), the official number of Covid-19 cases in France is 2,284 with 48 fatalities since January 24, 2020. The reported fatalities are all elderly and/or with pre-existing health conditions.
While the number has already surpassed 2,000, the alert level in France remains on Level 2 which means the government is concentrating all of its efforts on mitigating the spread of the virus.
Some concrete steps being taken:
– closing of schools in the most-affected cluster zones (more info on these towns below)
– banning of all public events with gatherings of over 1,000 people
– sporting events such as football games are being played behind closed doors
– several concerts scheduled until the end of May are reportedly being cancelled or postponed. Check our official list of affected events here.
If and when the situation gets worse, the government has said it would raise the alert to Level 3. To know its implications, please read our article here.
The most-affected cluster zones in France:
– Oise (about 200km away from Paris)
– Haut-Rhin (about 550km away from Paris located next to Switzerland)
– Ajaccio (in Corsica, a French island near Italy)
– Morbihan in Brittany (northwest of France, about 460km from Paris)
– Haut-Savoie (in the French Alps, about 580km away from Paris)
Traveling to France from certain countries
The French government is quite vigilant in its efforts to contain the spread of the virus in the country. Flights from countries that are considered “red zones” are being met by public health officials at French airports and passengers may be subject to scans for symptoms.
AirFrance has cancelled all flights to and from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong until late March. As for other airlines that have flights to and from France, no similar announcements have been made.
How to prepare for your trip to Paris
If after you’ve weighed all your options and you decide to push ahead with your travel plans to Paris this spring, it would be smart to arrive in the city with a bit more caution than usual.
Things to consider:
1 Your physical health
Are you healthy and without any pre-existing serious illnesses? Then you’re at very low-risk of contracting the virus. On the other hand, it would not be the best time to be traveling with elderly people right now as they are the demographic most susceptible to the virus.
2 Make flexibility a priority.
While no official travel restrictions to Paris have been put in place, there is always a possibility of things changing therefore it would be best to book flights that offer refunds in case of cancellation or flights that may be rescheduled. In light of the situation, several airlines have offered to waive re-booking fees until certain dates.
3 Getting your trip insured.
Buying travel insurance is probably the most important right now. What it does: covers unexpected and unforeseen events and accidents that cause your trip to be canceled or interrupted. Make sure to check different travel insurance companies reviews on websites like Trust Pilot.
4 Pack accordingly
If you do decide to continue on with your trip to Paris, make sure to bring essentials like: alcohol hand cleansers, disposable wipes or tissues, and a mask (if you have the cold). Other than that, remember that frequent hand-washing is not a myth and is still a trusted way to combat the virus.
|INSIDR Tip: Currently, it is very difficult to buy alcohol wipes and cleansers at local pharmacies in Paris. In addition, the French government has control over the supply of masks in France to reserve them for health workers and people who are sick who need it the most. It is advised that you come to Paris with these supplies.|
Local News in Paris
Fake French Police
There have been reports of fake police in Paris who apprehend tourists for wearing masks. It has been reported that they ask tourists, most of whom are Chinese nationals, to pay 150€. Please know that this is a scam.
While it is true that there was a law passed during Nicholas Sarkozy’s time that bans wearing full-face Islamic veils, niqabs, balaclavas and other similar garments that cover the face, this law does not apply to masks worn that are justified by serious health concerns.
An indicative factor of fake police is that they will ask you to pay the “fine” immediately.
WHAT TO DO IN CASE THIS HAPPENS TO YOU:
1 Ask the “police officers” to show their IDs.
2 If they ask you to pay the fine, insist that you would like to do it at the police station.
3 Dial 17. This is the official hotline for French police.
4 Ask people around you to help.