As the French government strives to curb the spread of the Omicron variety, it is increasing Covid restrictions for visitors arriving from the United Kingdom.
From Saturday, travelers will be required to provide a compelling cause for visiting France, according to the French prime minister’s office.
All newcomers must present a negative Covid test within the last 24 hours and isolate for at least two days.
The number of confirmed Omicron cases in the UK is now substantially greater than in France.
There will be no requirement for a valid cause for French nationals, their partners and children, legal residents, and EU members returning home through France to travel – but they must still follow all other laws.
On Wednesday, the UK reported 78,610 new Covid cases, the highest daily total since the outbreak began.
Although somewhat more than 10,000 cases of Omicron have been verified, it is estimated that nearly twice that number are instances of the novel variety.
Over the same time period, France reported 65,713 new Covid cases, but only 240 confirmed Omicron cases.
According to reporters in Paris, there is no panic in France regarding Omicron, but there are questions and concerns.
According to a statement from the office of French Prime Minister Jean Castex (in French), the UK is set to confront a “landslide” related to Omicron in the coming days.
“As the Omicron variety spreads rapidly in the United Kingdom,” the French government announced, “the French government has decided to re-implement compelling grounds for travel from and to the United Kingdom, as well as to strengthen required tests at departures and arrivals.”
Following concerns about the impact on supply chains, UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps declared that lorry drivers will be excluded from the new limitations.
There are no plans to prohibit French visitors from entering the UK, according to Downing Street.
According to a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, growing Omicron cases throughout the world suggest that “tighter border procedures would not be effective or proportional” in delaying the new variant’s introduction.
Anyone arriving in France after midnight on Saturday local time (23:00 GMT on Friday) will be needed to have tested negative by PCR or antigen test within the previous 24 hours.
They will be required to register on a digital portal ahead to their journey and furnish an address for their stay in France.
They will be required to self-isolate for a week after they arrive in France, unless they receive a second negative test, in which case their quarantine will be lifted after 48 hours.
Previously, these limitations only applied to visitors who were not completely vaccinated.
People planning to visit the United Kingdom should postpone their vacations, according to France.
Tourism, family vacations, and non-urgent employment are not among France’s compelling grounds for admission.
Hamza Taouzzale is one of the people who has had to postpone a trip he had planned with his family to Disneyland Paris.
“We didn’t tell the kids until yesterday, and they were ecstatic. He informed reporters that they had never gone to Disneyland before.
“We had planned to go from the 21st to the 26th to spend a few days at Disney and a few days in Paris. We were also fully packed and ready to go.
“We were horrified when we learned the news this morning. It would have been our first trip as a family in five years.”
The new regulations, according to Brittany Ferries, “may be a hammer blow to our Christmas season.”
“Additional border controls are as superfluous as they are unwanted in the context of an Omicron variation that is spreading across the French population as it is in the UK,” it added in a statement.