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EXPLAINED: These are France’s new quarantine rules for arrivals from ‘high risk’ countries

France has imposed its strictest quarantine rules yet on all arrivals from five countries that the government deems a particular risk because of the high spread of new variants of Covid.

EXPLAINED: These are France's new quarantine rules for arrivals from 'high risk' countries
Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

The government had already announced that it would be imposing a strict 10-day quarantine on all arrivals from India, Brazil, South Africa, Chile and Argentina and on Thursday Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin gave more details of the requirements.

The requirements are also in place for anyone arriving from the French overseas département of French Guiana, which borders Brazil, the official announcement in the Journal Officiel clarified.

These rules were already in place on Thursday but will be strictly enforced from Saturday, April 24th.

They apply to all travellers aged 11 and over.

  • Anyone travelling from these 6 places must get either a PCR test 36 hours before travel OR a PCR test 72 hours before travel followed by a rapid-result antigen test 24 hours before travel
  • 10-day quarantine can be done at an address of the traveller’s choice, either at a home or a hotel (at their own cost)
  • Travellers must provide proof of their quarantine address when boarding (either proof of their home address or a hotel reservation) and airlines will be allowed to refuse boarding to people who do not have the correct proof
  • Travellers must then take another antigen test on arrival in France, and confirm to border guards that they will observe the 10-day quarantine. Quarantine address proofs will also be checked again at the border
  • Police will then check the address provided during the 10 days to ensure the quarantine is being enforced
  • Travellers will also be contacted by health authorities to remind them of the rules and offer advice. Support will be available if needed for essential errands 
  • Essential errands may be done only between 10am and 12 noon, anyone not at the address provided outside those hours will be deemed in breach of quarantine and fined
  • Fines range from €1,000 to €1,500

Travel from these countries is allowed for essential reasons only and Darmanin said these reasons would be tightened further.

“For the most part, only French and European nationals with their main residence in France will be able to enter the country,” he said. There is at present no revised list of the permitted reasons for travel.

These requirements, put in place due to fears about new variants and coupled with a ban on all flights between France and Brazil, are the strictest quarantine measures yet imposed, however there are some rules for arrivals from other countries.

Non-EU countries

All arrivals from countries outside the EU (including the UK) are asked to observe a seven-day quarantine and then take a test on day seven.

On arrival in the country you provide a déclaration sur l’honneur (sworn statement) that you will observe this, but there are no police checks. Quarantine can be done at a location of your choice, either a home or a hotel.

All arrivals into France from non-EU countries must present at the border a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours. This must be a PCR test – antigen tests and home-testing kits are not accepted.

Travel from most non-EU countries is allowed for essential reasons only, but there are seven countries – including the UK, Australia and New Zealand, from which travellers can come for any reason. 

For the full rules on non-EU travel, click HERE.

EU countries

Arrivals from within the EU do not need to quarantine in France.

Almost all arrivals into France from non-EU countries must present at the border a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours. This must be a PCR test, antigen tests and home-testing kits are not accepted. There are some groups who are exempt from the testing requirement including cross-border workers.

For the full rules on travel from within the EU, click HERE.

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TRAVEL NEWS

French PM says Covid tests for travellers from China ‘will continue’

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Tuesday that Covid-19 tests for travellers arriving from China would continue despite protests from Beijing.

French PM says Covid tests for travellers from China 'will continue'

“I think we’re performing our duty in asking for tests,” Borne told franceinfo radio when asked about China’s reaction, before adding: “We will continue to do it.”

“We’re doing it while respecting the rules of the World Health Organisation and we will continue to do it,” she added.

Since Sunday, travellers from China arriving in France must wear a mask and be prepared to submit to a test on arrival, which are being done at random.

From Thursday, all travellers will be required to present a negative PCR or antigen test undertaken less than 48 hours before their flight.

French authorities have described the testing regime as a means of tracking variants that might be spreading in China since the country lifted its strict Covid-19 restrictions.

“Our objective — and all the scientists agree on this point — is to follow the evolution of the virus and that’s what we’ve been doing since Sunday,” Borne said.

European nations are seeking to coordinate their responses, with France, Italy and Britain testing arrivals while other states such as Germany have no restrictions.

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