French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday warned against any return to border closures between EU countries due to the coronavirus, even as the number of new infections in the country rose above 7,000.
A day after French authorities extended red zones to cover large parts of southern France, Macron instead called for European coordination and common approaches to local outbreaks.
“Closing borders between two countries makes no sense when there are clusters, areas of active circulation as we call them now, which are clearly identified,” he argued during a visit to a pharmaceutical factory.
Europe has millions of cross-border workers, some of them travelling between two unaffected regions in different countries, and it would be “absurd” to hamper “daily life, economic life,” Macron warned.
The French president said he had discussed the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on her visit to his summer residence in southern France last week and expected to work more on the issue in the coming days.
“We are going to work in the coming days to advance on this point,” he said. “Let us not repeat the mistakes of March on this issue. It is counterproductive and above all it’s ineffective in fighting against the spread of the virus.”
France recorded 7,379 new infections on Friday, another substantial rise compared to the previous days.
Twenty-one regions, or departments, across the country, have been classified as presenting a high infection risk.