France adds four more countries to ‘red list’ with strict police-enforced quarantine

More travellers arriving in France will be the subject of strict police-enforced 10-day quarantines after four more countries were placed on the high risk list.

France adds four more countries to 'red list' with strict police-enforced quarantine
Photo: Ian Langsdon/AFP

The Prime Minister’s office on Friday announced that Bahrain, Colombia, Costa Rica and Uraguay have been added to the ‘red list’, with enforcement in place from Sunday, May 16th.

The 10-day self-isolation rule already applies to travellers from Turkey, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Brazil, India, Chile, South Africa and Argentina.

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.

To date, some 7,000 travellers from affected countries have been obliged to quarantine.

Of those, 4,800 are still in isolation, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said, while 5,300 checks have been carried out on arrivals – and 280 fines of between €1,000 and €1,500 have been issued.

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

The following rules apply to all travellers aged 11 and over from countries on France’s ‘red’ list:

Anyone travelling from these 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 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 as necessary.

Travellers must then take another test on arrival in France, and confirm to border guards that they will observe the 10-day quarantine. Quarantine address proofs will 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 are permitted between 10am and 12 noon, and anyone not at the address provided outside those hours will be deemed in breach of quarantine and fined between €1,000 to €1,500.

Rules for other 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.

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

Arrivals from within the EU do not need to quarantine in France but are required to present a negative PCR test that is less than 72 hours old. Some groups 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 in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.