French Ambassador to Malaysia Frederic Laplanche said his side received the support of Malaysia's Foreign Ministry to evacuate about more than 1,000 of its nationals stranded here after airlines started to cancel flights in mid-March.
"(Meanwhile) The Ministry of Home Affairs and its Department of Immigration helped us solve cases of tourists stuck at the airport and has granted an extension of visas when visitors cannot leave before their expiry," he told Bernama in an email reply.
He said there are still about 300 French tourists in Malaysia due to specific situations – such as being unable to leave certain islands owing to the lack of boats, or because they have already spent a lot of money on plane tickets for cancelled flights and find it difficult to buy new ones at the moment.
Laplanche said about 150,000 French tourists visited Malaysia each year.
He informed that the Embassy had organised a special flight to transport over 200 French tourists and 50 other European nationals back home on March 26, as well as help others find new flights or accommodation in Malaysia.
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry has been helping by keeping hotels open for stranded tourists, he said.
He also said the Embassy is especially grateful to the Ministry of Health and to all the health workers in Malaysia who make them feel confident about the medical environment in the country.
Meanwhile, Laplanche advised 3,000 members of the French community here to take care of their health and contribute as much as they can to the society around them, including by staying at home.
About 60 staff members of the Embassy currently work from home to comply with Malaysia's Movement Control Order (MCO) and they have been competently managing the situation, added Laplanche.
"We keep closely in touch with our community, we write to them regularly, we have specific information for them on our website to keep them up to date on the situation, and we answer their individual questions and try to solve their problems," he said.
Laplanche said French institutions like the French School (LFKL) and the Alliance Francaise, which are closed as per the MCO, are conducting classes on-line.
The MCO, which started on March 18, has been extended until April 28.