Tuesday, May 25, 2021

France to Ban British Travellers Due to COVID-19 New Variant

British travellers may face stricter restrictions when travelling to France after numerous cases of a more dangerous Coronavirus mutation, known as the Indian variant, have been detected in the UK recently, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

According to the French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the UK will not end up in a red-list country, but it can face “slightly tougher sanitary measures”, possibly having a category of its own.

“The arrival of the Indian variant is a problem, and we remain on high alert regarding that matter, in cooperation with the British authorities,” Le Drian said.

Previously this month, the Secretary of State for Tourism, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, has introduced France’s most recent traffic light system for foreign travellers, through which system countries will be categorized as “red”, “orange”, or “green“, according to their situation with COVID-19.

Currently, British people travelling to France must provide a negative PCR test, taken 72 hours before they arrive, fill a health declaration that obliges them to self-isolate for seven days and take a PCR test.

On the other hand, the UK has categorized France as an “amber” list country, meaning travelling is allowed only if necessary, alongside Spain and Germany. Travellers from countries in the amber list need to undergo quarantine for ten days and get COVID tested on days two and eight upon arrival in the UK.

Moreover, the French Digital Affairs Minister said that the government tracing app has been downloaded by 1.5 million people, accounting for 24 per cent of the French population. This app will include a “green or health pass”, which can be used for people to attend sports events, festivals, and theme parks, which means that the holder has either been vaccinated, tested negative recently, or is recovering from COVID-19 and has natural antibodies.

The Indian variant has become dominant in some parts of the UK, with a 160 per cent increase of cases over the week. For Bolton, Bedford, and some parts of west London, surge testing has been deployed, resulting in success, especially for the Sefton area.

According to the Public Health England (PHE) study, the Pfizer vaccine is 88 per cent more effective against the Indian variant of COVID-19 after two doses, whereas the AstraZeneca is 60 per cent effective.

On Thursday, the European Union reached the deal, allowing tourists to use the COVID-19 certificates in 27 nation block from June 16.

Since the UK is no longer a part of the EU, it cannot profit from the deal, but the country has launched a vaccine certificate on its National Health Service app.

Recently, Public Health England revealed there are 3,424 cases of the B.1.617.2 Coronavirus variant, known as the Indian variant, across the UK as of May 19. According to the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ, “failures in the government’s test and trace system” may have contributed to variant’s spread in the United Kingdom.

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