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People's Daily Online

France sees no need to close borders near Italy, but raises vigilance over coronavirus

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 10:30, February 25, 2020

PARIS, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Despite the spread of the novel coronavirus in Italy, the worst-hit in Europe, French officials do not envisage to close the country's border nor impose control at the frontiers, but pledge to reinforce precaution measures to contain an eventual virus outbreak.

"France does not need border controls," Health Director General Jerome Salomon told France info on Monday.

"The situation is worrying in Italy. Cases are likely to be reported in France because of the proximity. But our objective is always the same: to offer a rapid detection of cases," he said, stressing that "what is important is to quickly detect any infected person."

On Sunday, Health Minister Olivier Veran said closing border "would not make sense" as "the virus does not stop at borders."

Meanwhile, France was attentive to the situation in Italy and was preparing for a "possible epidemic". "We are taking all the measures that are necessary to ensure the safety of the French," he said.

The virus has killed five in Italy where many villages in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto have been put into lockdown.

A sharp rise in infections in Italy raised fears of an epidemic and forced its French neighbour to increase vigilance and step up measures to detect possible new cases notably in regions near Italy.

In Corsica, regional health officials and local authorities had met to ensure that hospitals have the adequate measures "to detect cases as early as possible."

Early Monday, the Ministry of National Education asked students who had spent holidays in China, Singapore, South Korea, and also in Italy's Lombardy and Veneto to stay at home for two weeks.

"We are adapting to this very evolving situation...There are more than 100 hospitals ready to receive patients, more than 30 laboratories able to carry out more than 1,000 tests per day," Salomon said.

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