France will introduce new Covid restrictions for UK travellers

France will introduce tougher rules for travellers from the UK in an attempt to counter the spread of the Omicron variant.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told BFM television: “We will put in place a system of controls drastically tighter than the one we have today.

“We will reduce the validity of the test to come to France from 48 hours to 24 hours.

“We will limit the reasons for coming to France from the UK, it will be limited to French nationals and residents and their families.

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“Tourism or business trips for people who do not have French or European nationality or are residents will be limited.

“People will have to register on an app … and will have to self-isolate in a place of their choosing for seven days – controlled by the security forces – but this can be shortened to 48 hours if a negative test is carried out in France.”

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The measures are expected to come into effect at the weekend.

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People planning to travel from the UK to France may be unable to, as tougher restrictions are to be implemented for travellers from the UK.

Health minister Gillian Keegan was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme for her reaction to the French travel restrictions.

She said: “Well, actually, my first thought is ‘I’m glad that I cancelled my trip to France’, because that’s where I was supposed to go for Christmas.

“But, of course, every government is dealing with Omicron, every government has to make their decisions and has their response to it, you know. It is obviously going to alter people’s plans, which is very unfortunate.”

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he has spoken to his equivalent in the French government, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, and agreed that hauliers will be exempt from the new restrictions.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “Blanket country measures are a damaging backwards step and never work.

“Omicron is already in France and other EU countries. Why should the millions boosted be treated the same way as those unvaccinated, and prevented from entry?”

A spokesman for ferry operator Brittany Ferries said: “These new measures are a hammer blow to our Christmas season.

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“In the context of an Omicron variant that is passing through the French population as it is in the UK, further border controls seem as unnecessary as they are unwelcome.”

Additional reporting by PA

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