The French Prime Minister Jean Castex was questioned during a parliamentary session of questions to the government on the decision of maintaining flights from Brazil despite a surge of COVID-19 cases, especially of the P1 variant. "Anyone must present a negative test before boarding, and carry out a period of isolation of 10 days", Castex reassured, before announcing: “We note that the situation is worsening and we have decided to suspend all flights between Brazil and France until further notice.”

Until now, two flights were being carried out by Air France daily between France and Brazil: a Boeing 777 from Rio, and an Airbus A350 from Sao Paulo, both arriving at Paris’ main airport, Charles de Gaulle (CDG). On average, between 50 and 100 passengers were arriving from Brazil every day.

Countries neighboring Brazil, as well as several other European nations including Portugal, Italy, and the United Kingdom, have already suspended flights coming from Brazil. The Latin-American country is facing an explosion of cases, with over 60,000 deaths in March 2021. In total, 330,000 people died from the COVID-19 virus.

The P1 variant, observed first in Brazil, is a subject of concern, as it could be up to 2.5 times more contagious than the original strain. Several indications also suggest that P1 affects patients much younger than the other variants, as the Brazilian Association of Intensive Care revealed on April 11, 2021, that more than half of the patients in intensive care in the country were under 50.