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France - Coronavirus

Paris Airports director tests positive for coronavirus

An information board for travellers about the coronavirus is displayed at Nice international airport, France, 9 March, 2020.
An information board for travellers about the coronavirus is displayed at Nice international airport, France, 9 March, 2020. Reuters/Eric Gaillard

The chief executive of Paris Airports, which runs the French capital's two main international airports, has tested positive for coronavirus. The news came as the government said a fifth member of parliament and Culture minister had contracted the virus, as further measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 were announced.

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Augustin de Romanet tested positive for Covid-19 at the weekend, Paris Airports said, adding his "state of health is not a cause for concern and does not prevent him from carrying out his functions."

Officials were tracing people he had been in contact with. The CEO will stay at home for two weeks in self-isolation.

Paris' Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports are among the busiest air hubs in the world, with over 100 million people passing through them every year.

On Tuesday afternoon, with 1,606 recorded cases and 30 deaths, France is the second-worst affected European country after neighbouring Italy, which has imposed a national lockdown until 3 April.

The announcement on Sunday by the French Health Minister Olivier Véran that all public gatherings of more than 1,000 people were banned has deepened the impact especially on cultural and sports events:

Culture

  • Paris’ Louvre Museum is restricting entries, after 2 days of closure last week. Only visitors who have already booked a ticket online, or those who benefit from free entry, will be allowed in.
  • Paris Philharmonie cancelled all events in its main 2,400-seat auditorium until further notice.
  • Paris Book Fair due to take place from 18 to 23 March has been cancelled.
  • Theatre and opera managers are meeting to decide how to react to the ban.

Education

  • All schools were closed on Monday in two Covid-19 hotspots in the French departments, Haut-Rhin and Oise. 300,000 pupils and students are unable to go to school for at least 14 days.

Sport

  • Paris Saint-Germain has been ordered to play Wednesday's Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund behind closed doors
  • France-Ireland Six Nations rugby match planned for Saturday postponed.
  • The 5 April Paris Marathon postponed to 18 October.

Transport

  • Air France is reducing flights in Europe by 20% – and by 30% to northern Italy, the regions hardest-hit by coronavirus. Main flights to China and Hong Kong have been suspended until 29 March.
  • February passenger numbers fell 0.5 percent overall as flights to China were cut. Last month, Air France-KLM put the coronavirus cost to the airline at 150-200 million euros up to April.
  • SNCF train railway offers free rebooking or cancellation options to its passengers until 30 April.

Economy

  • France growth could fall below 1%: "It’s highly possible it will be less than 1 percent of GDP in 2020," warns Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Politics

 

​​​(with wires)

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