Macron, Merkel and leading EU officials to discuss border controls

Updated 11:38 AM
FILE PHOTO - Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Emmanuel Macron speak as they walk after a bilateral meeting on the second day of the European Union leaders summit, held to discuss the EU's long-term budget for 2021-2027, in Brussels, Belgium, February 21, 2020. Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via REUTERS

The French President Emmanuel Macron will make a televised address to the nation at 1900 GMT on Monday, said Macron’s department, as speculation mounts that France may consider new measures to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. Macron is also due to convene a top-level government meeting on the issue later on Monday.

Earlier today the French President Emmanuel Macron will be discuss the coronavirus and the topic of border controls on Monday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and leading EU officials Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, said Macron’s office.

The discussion between Macron and Merkel comes after Germany decided to temporarily introduce border controls on its frontiers with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark from Monday to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Meanwhile Czech authorities sealed off an area in the east of the country on Monday morning to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, the mayor of a town in the region said.

Earlier on Monday, the government tightened restrictions to combat the outbreak, banning people from moving around except for work, shopping and some other limited activities until March 24.

Austria’s chancellor announced major restrictions on movement in public places on Sunday, banning gatherings of more than five persons and urging Austrians to self-isolate, as well as putting further limits on who can enter the country.

The restrictions on public movement and gatherings will come into force on Monday, while restaurants are ordered closed from Tuesday, when new restrictions on entering the country will also take effect, a government spokesman said.

“Austrians are being summoned to isolate themselves,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s office said in a statement. “That means only making social contact with the people with whom they live.”

People should only leave the house for work that could not be postponed, to buy necessary food supplies and to help others, it said.

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