France Blocks Most U.K. Travel Amid Omicron Surge

France will introduce a series of “drastic” new travel restrictions on travelers from the U.K., government officials announced Thursday, as it attempts to curb the spread of the omicron variant driving a record-breaking number of coronavirus infections across the Channel. 

“We will put in place a system of controls drastically tighter than the one we have already,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told BFM-TV, saying returning travellers would need a negative test of less than 24 hours, a quarantine enforced on return to France and trips for tourism limited.

From midnight between Friday and Saturday, U.K. travelers will need a compelling reason to be allowed to enter France, the government said in a statement, citing the “rapid spread of the omicron variant in the U.K.”

Those reasons do not include business and tourism, the statement explained, and all travelers will need to provide a negative Covid-19 test taken fewer than 24 hours before their arrival.

Travelers must quarantine after their arrival, according to the new rules, isolating for either seven days or 48 hours if they show a negative coronavirus test.

French and EU nationals and residents—and their families—are exempt from the new rules.  

The restrictions are aimed at buying more time for France to roll out booster shots to more people, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Thursday, which studies suggest provide better protection against omicron. 


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