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Paris imposes Covid tests on unvaccinated arrivals from UK

Unvaccinated travellers from the UK arriving on the Eurostar will now have to take a Covid test on arrival in France, the Paris police chief has announced.

Paris imposes Covid tests on unvaccinated arrivals from UK
Unvaccinated arrivals into Paris will be required to take an extra Covid test. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP

The Paris Préfecture de Police announced that “in accordance with government instructions, police have put in place, from Monday November 1st, a system of Covid testing for unvaccinated arrivals from the UK at Gare du Nord.”

The UK is on France’s orange list, which means that travel for unvaccinated people is already strictly limited – only those who have French citizenship, are permanent residents in France or are travelling for an essential reason are allowed in to France.

Vaccinated people can travel from the UK to France for any reason.

Unvaccinated arrivals who fit the travel criteria must also present a negative Covid test before boarding transport to France, but following the police announcement travellers on the Eurostar must also take a test on arrival at Gare du Nord. The Local has asked whether this rule is likely to be extended to arrivals from the UK by plane, ferry or car.

France’s travel rules had previously contained provision for tests on arrival for unvaccinated travellers, but this has not been systematically applied until now.

The police statement added: “Faced with the recent resurgence of the epidemic in the UK, in particular the Delta variant AY.4.2, the police, in accordance with government instructions, have put in place from Monday, November 1st a testing system specific to Gare du Nord.”

Passengers are already required to show proof of vaccination upon boarding the Eurostar in London, for fully vaccinated passengers nothing changes, but unvaccinated travellers will now be directed upon arrival in Paris to a dedicated testing centre set up within the station.

Those who test positive will be subject to a 10-day quarantine.

The police statement did not mention payment for the tests, but visitors and unvaccinated residents in France usually have to pay for travel tests or ‘convenience’ tests.

The price of tests are capped by the government at €44 for a PCR test and €22 for an antigen test. Arrival testing is usually antigen tests so that travellers can receive their results on the spot.

The UK has for several weeks been reporting a huge surge in Covid cases, with a daily average of around 45,000 cases. France’s cases are much lower at around 5,000 per day, but have seen an increase in recent days.

For full details on the travel rules between France and the UK, click HERE.

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‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

READ ALSO: Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.

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