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France is trying to facilitate the repatriation of 130,000 of its nationals stuck overseas due to the coronavirus outbreak, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday, as the countrys ambassador in Tunisia warned French nationals they had less than 24 hours to fly home.
"The fundamental principle is that for the 130,000, we want to bring them back to the national territory, but we ask them to be calm and patient," Le Drian told France Info radio, adding that it would be up to them to pay for their return tickets.
Le Drian urged the more than three million French expatriates to stay where they are and warned that the government was ready to toughen up restrictions in France to limit people's movements, if existing guidelines were not adhered to sufficiently.
French officials have previously said they are coordinating efforts with Air France, Frances national career, to repatriate French nationals scattered across the globe.
Frances ambassador to Tunisia, Olivier Poivre dArvor, has urged all French nationals in the country with a home in France to leave Tunisia by Friday evening.
“There will be no further flights to France from Tunisia past that date,” the ambassador said, adding that the last planes would take off from Tunis and Djerba.