France suspends all Brazil flights over Covid-19 variant fears

Tuesday - 13/04/2021 14:21
A woman makes her way in the departures area of the Terminal 2E at Charles-de-Gaulle airport north of Paris amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on April 2, 2021. © Christian Hartmann, Reuters
A woman makes her way in the departures area of the Terminal 2E at Charles-de-Gaulle airport north of Paris amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on April 2, 2021. © Christian Hartmann, Reuters
France is suspending all flights to and from Brazil to curb the spread of a new Covid-19 variant found in the South American country, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Tuesday.

Experts say the Brazilian variant, known as P1, is particularly virulent and partly to blame for a sharp increase in the country's coronavirus death toll in March.

"We have observed that the situation is worsening and that is why we have decided to suspend all flights between Brazil and France until further notice," Castex told parliament.

The prime minister noted that travellers from Brazil already needed to test negative for Covid-19 before their departure and upon arrival in France, and also quarantine for 10 days. But the government has also been facing mounting calls from health experts for a flight suspension to further limit potential spread.

A month ago, Health Minister Olivier Véran said that around 6 percent of Covid-19 cases in France were from the more contagious variants first found in Brazil and South Africa.

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