SHARE
COPY LINK

TRAVEL NEWS

France starts testing Chinese arrivals to track variants

France on Sunday began testing passengers arriving from China in order to track potential Covid variants, Health Minister Francois Braun said.

Passengers from a flight from China wait for their Covid-19 vaccination documents to be checked after arriving at the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport
Passengers from a flight from China wait for their Covid-19 vaccination documents to be checked after arriving at the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport on January 1, 2023. France has joined a growing list of nations imposing Covid tests on travellers from China. Photo: JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP

“This control on arrival is not a control to prevent citizens entering our territory but a more scientific control which will allow us very precisely to check different variants,” Braun said at Charles de Gaulle airport north of Paris.

“These are essentially Omicron variants currently in China,” said Braun, adding there will be “a discussion at the European level in the week to harmonise this model” of testing.

As of Sunday, visitors from China must wear a mask and be prepared to submit to a test on arrival, which will be done at random.

Then from Thursday travellers will also have to present a negative PCR or antigen test undertaken less than 48 hours before their flight.

France joins other states including the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States in testing arrivals from China, four weeks after Beijing scrapped its “zero-Covid” containment policy of lockdowns and mass testing.

READ ALSO: What changes about life in France in 2023?

But, three years after the coronavirus first emerged in the city of Wuhan, the country is experiencing a surge in Covid cases.

The wave of infections is overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums, notably with older and sick patients, many of whom have not been fully vaccinated.

There have also been questions about the accuracy of Chinese case data reporting.

French minister delegate for transport, Clement Beaune, said there were currently six flights to France per week from mainland China and four from Hong Kong.

Most passengers from China to France only transit through Charles de Gaulle.

Of 300 passengers who disembarked a flight to the French capital Sunday around 60 entered the country, and all took a PCR test.

French officials at the airport also took their details in case of a positive test, which would require seven days isolation.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TRAVEL NEWS

Unscheduled stop: Baby born aboard high-speed train in France

Travellers on a high-speed rail service train in France experienced an unusual delay at a station at the weekend -- while a fellow passenger gave birth to a baby boy, local media reported.

Unscheduled stop: Baby born aboard high-speed train in France

The pregnant woman began to feel contractions shortly after taking her seat on the Paris-Strasbourg train, run by German rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

She alerted staff and the train was held at the Lorraine TGV station in the eastern French town of Louvigny to allow a medical team on board which then delivered the baby, the Republicain Lorrain said.

The other passengers were asked for patience during the birth of the baby boy, Felix, which took just over 80 minutes.

Felix was “a little premature”, the paper noted.

Mother and baby were taken to a nearby hospital by the local firefighter service, which reported later that both were doing well.

The Republicain Lorrain said that everybody was now wondering whether the German rail operator would send a birth gift, or grant its youngest passenger free trips on the network.

French public transport services have a history of providing such gifts. In 2018, after a baby was born on an RER Train in Paris, the child was offered a free Navigo pass until his 25th birthday.

SHOW COMMENTS