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France eases Covid travel restrictions for British tourists

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A man walks inside a Terminal at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy near Paris, France, on February 5, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

The French government is easing travel restrictions for vaccinated travelers arriving from the UK, dropping the requirement for proof of a compelling reason to enter the country and for obligatory self-isolation upon arrival.

Announcing the new measures on Thursday, Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said that in spite of the easing, a negative Covid-19 test taken 24 hours before the trip is still mandatory for Britons to enter France.

According to Lemoyne, the measures will take effect as from Friday morning.

“Given the prevalence of the Omicron variant both in France and in Britain, the government had decided to relax specific health control measures at borders that had been put in place in last December for vaccinated travelers coming from Britain,” the French prime minister's office said in a statement.

The new development came after France put in place strict traveling restrictions for Britons on December 18, aimed at preventing the spread of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19. The old measures effectively limited all non-essential travels between the two countries and required the travelers to isolate for 10 days upon arrival.

“Those measures had been decided when the epidemic was spreading spectacularly in Britain while France was still relatively preserved in the face of the Omicron wave,” the PM’s statement added.

The new relaxation policy comes on the heels of a record high number of daily infections in France, with 338,858 new cases having been confirmed on Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Surging case numbers in France prompted the government to implement domestic restrictions in January, making working from home compulsory, and limiting public gatherings.

The French parliament has proposed a Covid-19 pass that would effectively ban unvaccinated individuals from public life. The bill has passed its first confirmation at the lower house and now is waiting for the approval from the senate to formally come into effect thereafter.

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