Is France safe? Latest travel advice as coronavirus cases hit 1,700 and large gatherings are banned

FRANCE'S cases of coronavirus are continuing to rise, with more than 1,700 confirmed cases and 33 deaths.

As large gatherings over 1,000 people are banned and tourist attractions such as The Louvre restricts visitors, here is the latest advice if heading to France on holiday, including your flight rights and travel updates.

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What is the travel advice for France?

The French government has changed the large gathering ban from 5,000 people to 1,000 people.

They currently advise: "There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). The virus originated in China, but cases have been confirmed in other countries, including France where there is an ongoing coronavirus outbreak across France.

"The government has introduced a range of measures including prohibiting gatherings which involve more than 1000 attendees. You should contact the organiser of events or local authorities for further information.

"Certain local authorities continue to implement measures such as minimising local travel, closing local schools and cancelling smaller events."

However there are currently no travel restrictions in place across France, and Brits are not being warned to self-quarantine when returning to the UK.

The French Ministry for European and Foreign Affairs is updating its travel advice for visitors to France.

As well as reminding people to regularly wash their hands, avoiding shaking hands or kissing on the cheek, a statement warns travellers without symptoms not to wear face masks.

It reads: "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."



Can I cancel my holiday to France?

As there are no travel bans in France, airlines are unlikely to allow you to change your flights without a fee.

However, British Airways has cut hundreds of flights, including to France, throughout March due to a drop in demand.

Travellers using the Eurostar are also to remain the same: "There are no travel restrictions in place across the countries across our network and we continue to operate our services as normal and our Conditions of Carriage continue to apply.

"We remain in contact with the authorities and, should guidance change, we will publish any further updates and contact customers as appropriate."

They advise to get in touch if you have been quarantined and are unable to travel, but that travellers should contact their travel insurance provider as well.

The only time that tour operators are required to give a refund on holiday packages is if the Foreign Office changes its travel advice for a region and turns it into a no-go area, which they have not done in this case.



Independent hotels are not even required to refund money in this instance, so if you have paid in advance and choose not to turn up then you will lose your money.

If the hotel is a large chain, it could be worth asking to change your stay to another location or delay your trip but they are under no obligation to grant this.

Experts have advised not to cancel holidays to Europe, as there is no more risk in the UK "than you are somewhere else".

If you are still concerned, here is everything to know about cancelling your holiday.

Disneyland Paris remains open, despite the large group ban and a three members of staff testing positive for coronavirus, and has reassured concerned families that they are "following the development of the situation in close collaboration with health authorities".

The Louvre is restricting visitors with only those who have reserved tickets online able to enter, and concerts and music festivals are cancelled.

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