France now requires unvaccinated people arriving from the UK, as well as 5 European countries, to show a negative Covid test taken within the previous 24 hours.
1. New rules
The new rules came into force on as of midnight on Sunday, and mean that unvaccinated arrivals from the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece and the Netherlands are all subject to the new rule.
Because vaccines are effective against the virus, especially the Delta variant, the requirement on travellers with a complete vaccination regime [to have a PCR test]… will be lifted as of this Saturday 17th of July, regardless of the country of origin.Jean Castex, Prime Minister of France
The Prime Minister highlighted that travel to red list countries should still be avoided, and that because of the rapid spread of the Delta variant, unvaccinated travellers from the United Kingdom, as well as from 5 EU countries, will have to show a negative test (PCR or antigenic) test less than 24 hours. Travel from France’s red list countries is only allowed for important reasons and all travellers, including those who are fully vaccinated, must self-isolate for seven days upon arrival from these countries. Tunisia, Mozambique, Cuba and Indonesia have also been added to this list. Additionally, on Friday the UK government announced that it will not lift the the mandatory quarantine for vaccinated travellers arriving from France, as it did on Saturday for several other countries.
2. Rising cases in Europe
France’s new measures come as Europe sees an increase in cases, blamed partially on the highly-transmissible Delta variant which is now very present on the continent. In France in recent weeks new infections have increased reaching nearly 11,000 on Friday, and the government is trying to vaccinate its population as quickly as possible.
President Emmanuel Macron recently said that vaccine health passes would be required for entry to most public places and that all healthcare workers must be fully inoculated, sparking a rush of vaccine appointment bookings. So far around 35.5 million people, just over half of France’s population, have had at least one vaccine dose. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has said that it expects a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, predicting nearly five times as many new infections by August 1st.