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The situation at the Franco-British border

March 2020

The situation at the Franco-British border

Great Britain is considered as part of the European Union until the end of the post-Brexit transition period in December 2020 and even though it had never been part of the Schengen area, facing the closure of this area to third country nationals since 17 March at 12 noon, the border with France remains open.

As regards ferry crossings, the DFDS company has decided to limit the number of passengers per crossing by 50%, in order to leave more space for everyone and to reduce the risks of transmission, until at least 6 April. A similar measure has been taken by Eurotunnel for its freight shuttles. P&O ferries does not intend to reduce the loading of its vessels. Trucks, cars and people normally travel through the Channel ports although no more than 100 people are allowed in any space on ships.

Eurostar cancelled half of its trains on Tuesday 17 March. From Thursday 19 March, the company will operate only three return trips between Paris and London per day. As for the shuttles that carry cars through the Channel Tunnel, traffic may be reduced in the coming days depending on demand.

On the other side of the Channel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked his citizens not to travel, and a fortiori not to travel to the mainland. On national soil, in addition to the recommendations to avoid non-essential travel or contact, schools are closing from Friday 21 March.

Finally, in response to the spread of the virus, the government has issued draft emergency legislation giving the authorities extraordinary powers (for example, the power to arrest and isolate people to protect public health) for up to two years.

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