From Saturday, France will prohibit all U.K. visitors travelling for non-essential reasons (unless they are French or E.U. citizens) in an attempt to curb the spread of the Omicron variant, which is quickly becoming the dominant strain within the country. The ban will apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated Brits. MailOnline has more.
The French Government said no non-essential travellers from the U.K. will be allowed in from the weekend.
It is a hammer blow to those desperately hoping to be able to get away or go skiing over the festive period.
Ollie James said online: “Based on the latest Covid news, that’s my snow holiday cancelled because the French are banning people from the U.K.”
“Infuriating for me, but I feel for the hospitality industry in the mountains who will be losing a huge amount of money now. Our chalet was £12,000 for the week.”
A French Government spokesman confirmed there will be a “requirement to have an essential reason to travel to, or come from, the U.K., both for the unvaccinated and vaccinated”.
He added: “People cannot travel for touristic or professional reasons.”
They insisted French citizens and EU nationals could still return to France from the U.K.
Delta remains the dominant variant in France, but Omicron is spreading so fast in Britain that it’s raising concerns across the Channel.
French Government Spokesman Gabriel Attal said on BFM television that tourism or business trips from Britain to France “will be limited”, though French citizens will still be able to make the journey.
All those arriving from Britain will need to have a negative virus test less than 24 hours old, and to test again upon arrival and isolate “in a place they choose” for at least 48 hours pending the result, Attal said.
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?”
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.”
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.
A Spokesman for ferry operator Brittany Ferries said: ‘These new measures are a hammer blow to our Christmas season.”
Worth reading in full.