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TRAVELLING TO FRANCE

All travellers to UK to soon need negative Covid-19 test

The UK government has announced that it is introducing new rules stating that all arrivals into the country will need to present a negative Covid test.

All travellers to UK to soon need negative Covid-19 test
Photo: AFP

Since the discovery of the new strain of Covid-19 first identified in the UK, scores of countries around the world have made a negative Covid test a requirement for all arrivals from the UK.

But now the British government has announced that it will require negative tests for anyone going into the country.

The requirement covers all arrivals, including British citizens, with only a small number of exemptions. The test must have been taken in the 72 hours prior to travel.

 

People arriving with a negative test result will still have to quarantine for 10 days after arrival, according to the government.

The new policy was announced for England, but the devolved nations have said they will follow suit.

According to British transport secretary Grant Shapps, the new rule will come into force in England next week (no exact date was given) and “as soon as possible” in Scotland.

Exemptions to the testing requirement are listed as hauliers, children under 11, arrivals from the Common Travel Area (with Ireland) and arrivals from countries where testing infrastructure is not in place. There was no detail given on the type of tests that will be accepted at the UK border.

People arriving into the UK will still have to fill in the contact locator form before arriving at the border. You can find the form here.

In reality lockdown rules and restrictions imposed on arrivals from the UK by multiple European countries mean that few people are travelling at present.

 

Member comments

  1. Grant Shapps: it will come into force in England next week; no detail given on type of test. On tv he said brightly that there are all sorts of tests. Extra bright expression to make it look as if everything was fine & he knows what he’s doing. Sorry, rest of the world. He doesn’t. They don’t. Excruciatingly embarrassing government.

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POLITICS

‘Public opinion is ready’ – These French senators want to legalise marijuana

A group of 31 French senators of the Socialist, Green and Republican parties have come together to write a statement calling for the legalisation of marijuana in France.

'Public opinion is ready' - These French senators want to legalise marijuana

France is known for having some of the strictest laws regarding marijuana consumption in Europe – while simultaneously maintaining one of the highest rates of cannabis usage in the EU. 

A group of French senators – coming from the Socialist, Green and centre-right Les Républicains parties – are trying to change those laws, and have come together to call for marijuana to be legalised in France.

The group of 31 co-signed a statement published in French newspaper, Le Monde, on Wednesday, August 10th.

In the statement, the senators promised to launch a ‘consultation process’ to submit a bill to legalise marijuana “in the coming months.”

The proposition was headed by Senator Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, a member of the Socialist Party, and gained support from the party’s leader, Patrick Kanner.

READ MORE: The long and winding road towards changing France’s cannabis laws

A report by the Assemblé Nationale, which was published in May 2021, estimated that nearly 18 million French people (more than 25 percent of the population) had already consumed marijuana, and that an additional 1.5 million consume it regularly.

This, coupled with the 2019 finding that nearly one in two French people (45 percent) said they were in favour of legalisation, according to a survey by the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT), helped strengthen the senators’ position.

“Public opinion is ready, the legislature must act,” they wrote.

Their senators argue that legalising marijuana in France will allow the authorities to better protect French citizens, saying that legalising would not require “minimising the health impacts of cannabis consumption” but rather would allow regulation similar to “public policies for tobacco, alcohol or gambling.”

For the group of 31 senators, the benefits of legalisation would involve a better control over the “health quality of products consumed,” “curbing trafficking in disadvantaged areas,” developing large-scale prevention plans,” and finally the taxation of cannabis products and redirection of law enforcement resources. Decriminalisation – in their opinion – would not be sufficient as this would simply “deprive authorities the ability to act,” in contrast to legalisation. 

READ MORE: Is France moving towards legalising cannabis for recreational purposes?

“In the long term, new tax revenues would be generated from the cannabis trade and from savings in the justice and police sectors”, which would make it possible to mobilize “significant resources for prevention as well as for rehabilitation and economic development,” wrote the senators.

In France, the conversation around cannabis has evolved in recent years – former Health Minister (and current government spokesman) Olivier Véran said to France Bleu in September 2021 that “countries that have gone towards legalisation have results better than those of France in the last ten years,” adding that he was interested in the potential therapeutic use of cannabis.

Currently, the drug is illegal in France. Previously, it fell under a 1970-law of illicit drug use, making it punishable with up to a year prison and an up to €3,750 fine.

However, in 2020, the government softened the penalties, making it possible for those caught consuming it to opt for an on-the-spot fine of €200.

There is also an ongoing trial involving 3,000 patients to test the impacts of medical marijuana usage, particularly with regard to pain relief. 

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