France: Government 'scared' to impose lockdown says expert
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The French government announced yesterday that it was easing some COVID-19 restrictions on international travel to and from seven countries outside the European Union. Britain is one of these countries.
Although France is struggling with a third wave of the coronavirus, the country is opening up its borders for some international travel this weekend.
In a statement yesterday, the French tourism minister, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, said that travellers to or from some international nations will no longer need a “compelling reason” to travel.
These nations include Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Singapore, and the UK.
This means that Britons will be allowed to cross the Channel to France when the England travel restrictions ease on May 17.
Mr Lemoyne said that the decision to relax the rules was due to the improving health situations in those specific countries.
Posting on his Twitter account, the French tourism minister said: “The list includes Britain, because the UK variant now also circulates widely in France.”
The variant he referred to now accounts for 65 percent of new COVID-19 cases in France.
Infection rates in the country are relatively stable nationwide, but the number of patients in intensive care is rising and three regions are in a “tense and worrying” situation, said the French health minister Olivier Véran yesterday.
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However, unlike the UK, France has avoided a national lockdown and there is a 6pm curfew in place throughout the country instead.
Although Mr Lemoyne said that tourists to France will not need a “compelling reason” to enter, there are still other requirements that they must provide.
Britons visiting France in the summer must prove that they have tested negative for a COVID-19 test 72 hours before travel.
A decree is due to published today with the details.
The French foreign ministry warned that this easing of travel restrictions was “in no way an invitation for tourism to start up again”, but that it would allow French expats to return home more easily, since some of them have been stranded in other countries since January.
However, it also means that French citizens can leave the country if they want to.
If coming to the UK, French people must quarantine for 10 days, take a COVID-19 test on day two and day eight of the quarantine, and follow the national lockdown rules.
Before the rules were relaxed, travel from the UK to France was limited to French nationals or British and/or third country nationals who either reside in France or the European Union, and who had to travel for “essential reasons”.
This summer, British citizens will be able to travel to a number of European destinations.
As well as France, these include Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, and some Spanish islands.
Earlier this year, the Spanish government said that Britons could be allowed to visit the Canary and Balearic Islands, as long as they tested negative for COVID-19.
Rita Marques, Portugal’s tourism minister, also expressed her hopes for the country to soon open its borders to tourists who have either been vaccinated or tested negative for the coronavirus.
She said: “I do believe that Portugal will soon allow restriction-free travel, not only for vaccinated people, but those who are immune or who test negative. We hope to welcome British tourists from 17 May.”
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