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Coronavirus - Advice for visitors to France

Coronavirus - Advice for visitors to France

Published on March 6, 2020
Expatriés français, accédez à nos dernières informations ICI.
• Faced with the crisis linked to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the services of the French Government, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of France and the Consulates General in the United States are fully mobilized.
• Aviation measures in French Polynesia

The French Government updates its recommendations regularly to protect your health and recommends protective measures against Coronavirus COVID-19.

For the people in and returning from an area where the virus is spreading:

  • Take your temperature twice a day;
  • Watch for symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, difficulty breathing, etc.);
  • Wash your hands often or use alcohol-based sanitiser gel;
  • Avoid contact with vulnerable people (pregnant women, chronically ill people, elderly people, etc.)
  • Avoid going to places where vulnerable people are (hospitals, maternity wards, nursing and retirement homes, etc.);
  • Avoid non-essential outings (large public gatherings, restaurants, movie theatres, etc.)
  • Workers/students can return to work if they do not have any symptoms;
  • Children and primary and secondary school students can be sent to pre-primary, primary and secondary schools.

If you have a respiratory infection (fever, feverish feeling, cough, difficulty breathing) in an area or 14 days after you returned from an area where the virus is spreading:

  • Call SAMU Centre 15 (Emergency Medical Services – dial 15) sharing your symptoms and your travel history;
  • Avoid contact with friends and family;
  • Wear a mask (only if prescribed by a doctor);
  • Do not go to your GP or to the hospital to avoid the risk of contamination.

Should I wear a mask?

It is not recommended that you wear a surgical mask if you do not have any symptoms.

Masks are not effective for the general public because they cannot be worn at all times and they are not necessary unless you are in close or long-term contact with someone is ill.

Masks are therefore reserved for ill people and only with a doctor’s prescription, people who are in proven high-risk contact, emergency care professionals, medical transport professionals, and health professionals working in the community and at hospitals. The Government has issued stocks of surgical masks from the strategic stock and will continue to do so as necessary to meet the needs of regions for these prescribed categories as they emerge.

This information has been given to pharmacies and they will only distribute masks if they are prescribed by a doctor.

As is the case for the seasonal flu, barrier measures are effective.

What are barrier measures?

The virus does not spread on its own. People who have the virus are the ones who spread it. Therefore, the following measures are common-sense measures.

  • How to avoid catching and spreading respiratory infections and protect your health and the health of those around you:
  • Wash your hands very often;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve when you cough our sneeze;
  • Do not shake hands or greet people with kisses on the cheek;
  • Use single-use tissues;
  • Wear a mask when ill (only if prescribed by a doctor).

Are there enough masks in France?

15 million surgical masks of the national stock have been circulated. 138 health institutions that treat confirmed cases of Coronavirus COVID-19 have already received surgical masks.
Masks are also being distributed to general practitioners to treat patients who could be infected with Coronavirus COVID-19.

The requirement of a doctor’s prescription to use these masks, in the case where they are useful, must be respected if the stocking and restocking of these protective measures is to be effective.


A toll-free hotline service can answer your questions about the Coronavirus COVID-19 non-stop , 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 0 800 130 000.

The toll-free hotline service is not qualified to give medical advice. So if you have signs of respiratory infections 14 days after you return from China (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao), Singapore, South Korea, Iran or the Lombardy and Veneto regions in Italy, dial 15.


How are possible patients with symptoms dealt with in the airport?

They are taken care of by the Airport Emergency Medical Service. They are then isolated and treated, as are all medical cases, by the SAMU Centre 15 (Emergency Medical Services), in accordance with procedures in place.

Visit the French Governement website (in French) for up-to-date information including our response to the crisis and information about the spread of COVID-19 in France.
Aviation measures in French Polynesia

The following entry measures have been announced for the aviation sector in French Polynesia; they are valid from March 9 to March 31, when the situation will be reassessed:

  • Recommended: the presentation of a medical certificate for all travelers, both passengers and crew, issued within five days prior to their arrival in French Polynesia.
  • Required: the completion of a health questionnaire for all international flights, to be distributed by airlines prior to landing and collected upon arrival by a medical team on the ground.
  • Temperature monitoring for all passengers aboard international flights.
  • The suspension of exemptions for private jets allowing them to land initially at sites other than Tahiti-Faa’a International Airport. Passengers and crew members on private jets must undergo a health check upon arrival.

Passengers will not be prevented from boarding due to their failure to present a medical certificate as recommended above. They will, however, be required to undergo a medical examination upon their arrival at Tahiti-Faa’a International Airport.

Suggested reading on

Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit Statement on COVID-19
Covid-19 - G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting held by videoconference under the presidency of the United States
Introduction of a web solution to help French citizens in difficulty around the world:
Statement by the ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian, Christophe Castaner and Jean-Baptiste Djebbari
Message from the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs to all French citizens abroad
Address by Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, on the COVID-19 coronavirus
G7 Leaders’ Statement - COVID-19 pandemic

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