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France to require 24-hour test for UK and some EU countries over delta variant fears

France has announced stricter restrictions on unvaccinated travellers from several countries that have reported high numbers of Covid cases linked to the delta variant of the virus - the UK, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Greece.

France to require 24-hour test for UK and some EU countries over delta variant fears
Photo: Ian Langsdon/AFP

In a live TV appearance on Monday, French president Emmanuel Macron announced a package of measures aimed at controlling a delta-driven fourth wave of Covid in France.

On the subject of travel restrictions he said: “From this week, controls at our borders will be strengthened for those coming from high-risk countries, with strict isolation for unvaccinated travellers” – but offered no further details.

However, some clarification was later published by France’s Europe minister Clément Beaune on Twitter.

It appears that France is keeping in place its traffic light system, but imposing extra restrictions on three countries.

READ ALSO How France’s traffic light travel system works

He announced a “reinforced regime” for travellers from the UK who are not fully vaccinated – a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours of travel, in addition to having compelling reasons for travel. This is a change from the existing regime which requires a test taken within 72 hours of travel.

Either PCR or antigen tests are accepted, but not home-test kits.

Existing traffic light restrictions remain in place.

This means the new rules from the UK are;

Fully vaccinated travellers – can travel to France for any reason, do not have to quarantine on arrival but do need a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of travel. Travellers from the UK who had AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine do not count as ‘fully vaccinated’ under French rules.

Unvaccinated travellers – can only travel to France for essential reasons (which includes French citizens and residents returning home), must quarantine for seven days on arrival and need a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours of travel. Find the full list of accepted reasons for travel HERE.

READ ALSO Can families with unvaccinated children travel to France?

Spain, Portugal and the rest of the EU and Schengen zone are on France’s green list, but testing has also been tightened up for non-vaccinated travellers who now require a negative test taken within 24 hours of travel, not 72 hours as previously.

On Saturday, the government also tightened entry requiremenets for Cyprus, the Netherlands and Greece.

This means the new rules for Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Greece are;

Fully vaccinated travellers – can travel for any reason, do not need to quarantine or present a negative Covid test.

Unvaccinated travellers – can travel for any reason and do not need to quarantine, but must show a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours of travel.

Tests are required for all travellers aged over 11.

All entrants to France need to present a declaration that they are in good health – you can find the declaration HERE.

In travel terms, fully vaccinated is defined as someone who has received a vaccine approved by the EMA – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (but not Covishield) or Johnson & Johnson – and is two weeks after their second dose, or four weeks after the injection if they received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson injection (which is known in France as Janssen).

These rules are in place from Saturday, July 17th.

Member comments

  1. Are they checking the batches of the NHS app vaccinated people? I have one Covishield, under Vaxzveria name but the batch is one of these infamous ones. And the 24 hours test then is for antigen tests only, as the PCR test would never come that soon.

  2. Like Martina I need to know if the test within 24 hours is a PCR one or if an Antigen Test is acceptable; I had ordered, paid for and have, just this morning, received an Antigen test. Thanks

    1. Both are acceptable from July 15th as it says if they are within 24hrs. I travel on Sunday via tunnel to France. Luckily we are testing at 2:30pm on Saturday and travelling at 9:30
      On Sunday. Just by luck

      1. And July 17th sorry as that’s when they say things are getting stricter.

        My wife has the Astra Zeneca one which was from the batch made in India but is not called Covishield it’s called Vacivera

        1. VAXZEVRIA sorry

          Who knows. The batch number is one we saw listed as not recognised by EMA but now they are saying this named vaccination???

          We will just fry our best on Sunday morning

      2. Thanks for that info, we are going on Sunday 1st August at 21.00 so we will have to be smart about our testing! Good luck to you and your wife….have a good trip!

  3. Has there been any change to British residents in France returning to the uk, i.e. do we have to isolate for 2 weeks when entering the uk.
    What is the situation on our return to France, we are fully vaccinated in French Pfizer vaccine

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DISCOVER FRANCE

Mine-riddled French island becomes unlikely walkers’ paradise

Every year, thousands of day-trippers make the short boat journey from France's northern coast to the island of Cezembre, marvelling at the spectacular maritime views and flourishing wildlife.

Mine-riddled French island becomes unlikely walkers' paradise

But they better tread carefully and stick to the path, as almost all the island remains perilous due to unexploded munitions from World War II.

Cezembre opened to visits only in 2018, over seven decades after the end of World War II, after extensive de-mining efforts allowed the opening of a marked path for visitors.

However, the area safe for visitors makes up just three percent of the island, which experts say was the most bombed area of all of World War II in terms of the number of hits per square metre.

“It’s magnificent!” enthused Maryse Wilmart, a 60-year-old visitor from the southwestern town of La Rochelle, contemplating the sandy beach with turquoise waters and looking out to the ramparts of the port city of Saint-Malo beyond.

Tourists pass by signs reading “no trepassing – Danger” on Cezembre Island, Photo by Damien MEYER / AFP

“But when you see all that behind us… Can you even imagine what happened here?” she asked, pointing to the barbed wire and signs warning “Danger! Ground not cleared beyond the fences!”

A visitor needs to go back 80 years to understand what happened on this usually uninhabited rocky outcrop.

In 1942, the occupying Nazi German army seized the strategically important island and installed bunkers and artillery pieces.

On August 17th, 1944, Saint-Malo was liberated by the Americans but the Nazi commander of Cezembre, leading some 400 men, refused to surrender.

There then followed a devastating bombardment from the air by the Allies.

“It is said that per square metre it sustained the greatest number of bombardments of all the theatres of operation of World War II,” said Philippe Delacotte, author of the book “The Secrets of the Island of Cezembre”.

A beach on Cezembre Island, off Saint-Malo’. Photo by Damien MEYER / AFP

“There were between 4,000 and 5,000 bombs dropped”, some of which contained napalm, he said.

On September 2nd, 1944, the white flag was finally raised and some 350 exhausted men surrendered.

“Some survivors claimed it was like Stalingrad,” Delacotte said. The island was completely devastated, to the extent that its altitude even dropped because of the bombs.

After the war, the island became the property of the French ministry of defence and access was totally closed, with the first de-mining efforts starting in the 1950s.

It was handed over to a public coastal conservation body, the Conservatoire du Littoral, in 2017.

The path of about 800 metres lets visitors wander between rusty cannons and bunkers, with breathtaking views towards Cap Frehel and the Pointe de la Varde.

Since the opening of the path, “there has been no accident” even if “there are always people who want to go beyond the authorised section,” said Jean-Christophe Renais, a coast guard.

Over time, colonies of seabirds have reappeared, including seagulls, cormorants, razorbills and guillemots.

“Biodiversity is doing wonderfully, everything has been recolonised and revegetated, birds have taken back possession of the site,” said Gwenal Hervouet, who manages the site for Conservatoire du Littoral.

“It’s just a joy.”

Because of the focus on restoring wildlife, the trail was partially closed in April “to maximise the chances of success and the flight of peregrine falcon chicks,” said local conservation activist Manon Simonneau.

Some walkers say they hope the trail will be lengthened to allow a complete tour of the island, but according to the Conservatoire there is little chance of this — the cost of further demining would be astronomical, so it is now birds and nature that are the masters of Cezembre.

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