Fear of Omicron “tidal wave”: What now applies to travel between France and Great Britain

Anyone wishing to travel between the UK and France during the holidays may now face a problem: In order to limit the spread of the Sars-CoV2 variant, the French government announced strict entry regulations this Thursday.

As confirmed by the Prime Minister’s Office, from midnight on Friday night travelers will have to give “compelling reasons” to travel to the UK and return to France – regardless of the vaccination regime.

The move is justified by the British government’s admission that a small “tidal wave” would sweep the country.

Travel between the United Kingdom and France for tourism and business purposes will not be allowed, the statement said. However, the “compelling reasons” do not apply to French citizens and their partners and children, who “can continue to enter France”.

In a separate statement from the French government, the list of compelling reasons to travel to the United Kingdom also includes “foreign nationals returning to their country”.

Entering France requires a COVID-19 test 24 hours before departure – previously they could be done within 48 hours before departure. They apply to all travelers, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.

“Drastic measures”

The Office of the Prime Minister of France has confirmed that the tests can be either PCR or lateral flow tests – but the self-tests are not valid. Proof must be provided in the form of a recognized certificate.

People entering France from the UK should also be isolated and pre-registered online through an application that creates a prefectural quarantine order. Self-isolation can be lifted after 48 hours if there is a negative COVID-19 test.

The French government has advised those planning a trip to the UK to postpone their trip.

The new measures will be “more drastic” than the current ones, government spokesman Gabriel Atal told BFMTV and RMC on Thursday.

He said the quarantine for visitors from the UK would be “controlled by security forces”.

The new restrictions were posted on the website of the French Embassy in the United Kingdom on Thursday morning (in French).

The French government website has more details on the “compelling reasons” for travel between France and the United Kingdom.

Those allowed to travel to the United Kingdom include “foreign nationals returning to their country”, visits after the death of a close family member or when such a person is in a life-threatening situation.

Those allowed to return to France include French and EU nationals and their families, as well as Britons benefiting from the Brexit agreement, ie UK nationals residing in the EU, as well as nationals of other EU countries.

British officers traveling on business, as well as British police, customs and Eurotunnel staff, are also allowed to enter French territory. The same applies to healthcare workers, enrolled students and teachers, and transport workers, including truck drivers, who carry goods.

A total of 78,610 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the UK yesterday – the highest number since the pandemic began. The new Omicron variant, which is very easy to transport, is spreading in the country.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last Sunday that the country was expecting a small “tidal wave”. In some areas, the number of micron cases has doubled every two days, he added on Wednesday.

France has so far recorded 240 short cases in its territory. The new restrictions on the UK are aimed at “tightening the net” to reduce the number of cases entering the country and slowing the spread, said Gabriel Atal.

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