France has introduced tougher travel rules for the UK travelers in an attempt to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
According to the government’s new plan, announced on Thursday, from midnight on Saturday local time (2300 GMT on Friday), people arriving from the UK will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test which is less than 24 hours old. Then they will be expected to self-isolate for a week, unless they take a second negative test, in which their quarantine time could be reduced to just 48 hours.
A statement from French Prime Minister Jean Castex's office raised the alarm over the quick spread of the new variant in the UK and said “the French government has decided to re-implement compelling reasons for travels from and to the United Kingdom, and to reinforce mandatory tests at departures and arrivals.”
#Omicron | nouvelles conditions de déplacement 🇬🇧🇲🇫 à partir de samedi 0h. Les ressortissants français, leurs conjoints et leurs enfants peuvent toujours entrer en France sans motif impérieux. @ConsulFranceUK@cgfEdimbourg pic.twitter.com/ARRTKnF6lT— French Embassy UK (@FranceintheUK) December 16, 2021
The statement warned that the UK, in its own words, is facing a “landslide” in the coming days, regarding the spread of Omicron.
“Vaccinated people must present a negative test (PCR or TAG) of less than 24 hours, which is in line with the rules already in place for unvaccinated people,” the statement added.
Tourism and business trips will be limited as well, with Britons required to give a compelling reason for travelling to the country, except for French nationals and their spouses and children.
According to the statement travelers from the UK must register on a “digital platform and provide the address of their stay in France” in advance.
Meanwhile, French travelers are being called on by the government in Paris to “postpone” their visit to the UK.
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal earlier told BFM television, “We will put in place a system of controls drastically tighter than the one we have today.”
However, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the new policy from Paris, will not affect cross-Channel trade, and hauliers will be exempt to the policy.
He tweeted, “To confirm I have liaised with my French counterpart and hauliers will remain exempt.”
With already assigned strict travel regulations for the French, decreed from London, the two countries feel more apart than ever.
Confirmed Omicron cases are currently much higher in the UK than in France.
France reported 65,713 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, but has only 240 confirmed cases of Omicron. On the other side, the UK hit the record for the number of cases, with 78,610 new COVID-19 cases, of which, more than 10,000 have been confirmed as Omicron.
Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, warned of a “staggering” rise in cases over the next few days.