French PM says ‘go on holiday with confidence’ as fuel shortage eases

Anyone with plans for a French holiday can and should go ahead as normal, despite recent issues at the fuel pumps, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has said.

French PM says ‘go on holiday with confidence’ as fuel shortage eases
(Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)

Borne insisted that “the French can leave with confidence” for their autumn holidays when the schools break up on Friday, with an estimated 90 percent of service stations on the autoroute expected to operate as normal, according to motorway operator Vinci.

READ ALSO What you need to know about driving in France this autumn

“I’m not going to tell you that the situation will be 100 percent settled for holiday departures, but the French can leave [with confidence],” she told France’s Libération newspaper. 

“The situation is in clear improvement on the beginning of the week,” she said.

French schools start their two-week holiday on Friday, October 22nd while France is also a popular autumn destination for UK tourists. Many UK schools also have their holidays next week.

After three weeks of blockades, strikes at sites owned by French oil giant TotalEnergies eased this week – although uncertainty remains over fuel supply as the country heads into the autumn holiday break, with strikes at the the Gonfreville refinery (Seine-Maritime) and at the Feyzin depot (Rhône) set to continue until October 27th.

READ ALSO French fuel shortages ease as refinery workers call off some strikes

However, on Thursday, 16.9 percent of fuel stations across the country still faced supply shortages for one or more types of fuel, down from 20.3 percent on Wednesday.

But the slow return to normal remains uneven, with 29 percent of fuel stations in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and a quarter of those in  Île-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes still reporting supply problems.

MAP: How to find petrol or diesel during France’s fuel shortages

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France extends Covid tests for travellers from China

France on Saturday said it had extended until February 15th Covid tests for travellers arriving from China due to the "evolving situation".

France extends Covid tests for travellers from China

The tests had initially been decreed until January 31.

Since the start of this year, travellers aged over 11 and coming from China to France have had to present a negative test taken 48 hours before the flight to board the plane.

Random testing will be carried out and anyone testing positive will have to self-isolate, the French authorities said, adding that everyone above six years old would have to wear face masks on the plane.

Several countries had slapped fresh travel regulations on travellers from China after Beijing decided to relax strict virus restrictions.

China has said that the number of daily Covid-19 deaths has fallen by nearly 80 percent since the start of the month.

A wave of virus cases has washed over the world’s most populous nation since Beijing abruptly ended its zero-Covid policy last month.

Beijing’s figures are believed to only represent a fraction of the true toll, given China’s narrow definition of a Covid death and official estimates that swathes of the population have been infected.