France lifts all Covid restrictions for international travellers

From today, France has abolished all Covid restrictions for international travellers.

Arrivals no longer need to present proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative Covid test.

But the French government warns of a possible “emergency brake” reintroduction of measures in the next six months if a new coronavirus variant appears that is “likely to constitute a serious health threat”.

The interior ministry in Paris said in a statement: “Faced with the new phase of the pandemic, the border health control system is lifted, in accordance with the law putting an end to the exceptional regimes created to fight against the epidemic linked to Covid-19.

“The government retains until 21 January 2023 the possibility of activating ‘emergency brake’ measures for a maximum period of two months, after consulting the high authority for health in the event of an appearance and circulation of a new variant of Covid-19 likely to constitute a serious health threat or, in overseas territories, in the event of a risk of saturation of the health system.”

Paul Charles, chief executive of the travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “At last France has done the right thing and is learning to live with Covid.

“The timing will help to speed up entry for millions of UK tourists heading to France, and should mean faster checking by French passport officials at our ferry ports and on arrival at French airports.

“Let’s hope that no restrictions means no restrictions this winter when Covid cases are likely to rise.”

A year ago, France was effectively off-limits to British holidaymakers because of the UK government’s short-notice imposition of quarantine for returning travellers.

The so-called “amber plus” rule was introduced because of concern of Covid cases on the French Indian Ocean island of Réunion – though that isle was accessible without quarantine so long as the traveller did not return via mainland France.

Just before Christmas 2021, the French government imposed a four-week travel ban on visitors from the UK because of concern about the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

That ban was lifted on 14 January 2022, though with tight restrictions for travellers.

Mask use is likely to continue on some transport operators. Eurostar, which runs trains from London St Pancras International to Lille and Paris, says: “For everyone’s comfort, we recommend wearing a mask on board our trains.”

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