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France to require negative COVID-19 tests for travelers from Britain

By
Don Jacobson
People not wearing protective face masks walk past the Arc of Triomphe in Paris on June 17. File photo by Yoan Vala/ EPA-EFE
People not wearing protective face masks walk past the Arc of Triomphe in Paris on June 17. File photo by Yoan Vala/ EPA-EFE

July 17 (UPI) -- France on Saturday tightened COVID-19 restrictions on people arriving from Britain and some other European countries, requiring them to show a negative test taken within the previous 24 hours.

In a statement, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said that beginning at midnight Sunday, travelers from Britain, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece and the Netherlands will be required to produce proof of a negative test, Radio France International reported.

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Castex said the rule will not apply to travelers "with a complete vaccination regime" because "vaccines are effective against the virus, especially the Delta variant."

There were 11,000 new COVID-19 infections in France on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University, continuing a trend of rising caseloads across Europe this month as the Delta variant took hold on the continent.

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French President Emmanuel Macron this week tightened restrictions in the country and mandated that health workers be vaccinated in a bid to battle the surge.

The French requirements were imposed just a day after the British government announced it had backtracked on plans to lift mandatory quarantines for vaccinated travelers from France.

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Rather than ending the requirements this weekend as initially planned, the British health and travel ministries instead said they would stay in place, meaning arrivals from France must continue to quarantine in their own accommodations for 10 days and complete two COVID-19 tests, regardless of vaccination status.

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British Health Minister Sajid Javid cited "current cases of the Beta variant in France" as a reason for the move.

The Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa, accounts for only about 10% of new infections in France, prompting some in the country to question why the move was imposed.

Veronique Trillet-Lenoir, a French member of European Parliament, told the BBC it was "difficult to understand" the British rule since the Beta variant is "not present at all" in mainland France.

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A year in pandemic: How COVID-19 changed the world

January 31, 2020
National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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