Tuesday, May 11, 2021

France to Start Applying COVID-19 Traffic Light System for Travellers From Outside EU by May’s End

France is set to start categorising other countries according to their epidemiological situation through the traffic light system, which is currently applied by several other European Union and Schengen Area Member States, including the Czech Republic, Norway, Estonia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Denmark and more.

The system, which usually categorises countries in three colours – red, orange, and yellow – determines the quarantine measures and other travel restrictions travellers fall subject to, based on the category the country they are coming from is placed in.

Last Saturday, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said to Europe 1 that France is ready to welcome EU citizens to enter its territory, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

We will be happy to welcome Europeans just as French people will be happy to visit Europe,” the Minister said.

He also announced that the country is set to launch the traffic light system by the end of the month, which is one of the steps the country is taking to ensure a safe reopening of France for the coming summer.

Regarding countries that are outside the European area [EU and Schengen zone countries], we will work on lists and colours. There will be the green countries, orange countries and red countries,” he said.

While Minister Lemoyne did not clarify what rules would apply to each country, he still noted that there are “only five or six ‘green’ countries at the moment,” while at the same time noting that “with time it [the list] will expand.

Last month, French President Emanuel Macron revealed that the country is in its last stage of finalising a plan on the abolishment of travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers from third countries, including travellers from the United States and the United Kingdom.

We are working hard to propose a very concrete solution, especially for US citizens who are vaccinated, so with a special pass, I would say,” Macron said at the time.

Following the announcement, the country revealed a list containing only high-risk world countries, which included Brazil, Argentina, Chile and South Africa. On May 7, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates were added to the same list.

Arrivals from these countries, who are permitted to enter France, are now subject to the test system before boarding, which means they must present the negative results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 36 hours, instead of 72 as it is for arrivals from other countries.

The chances are high that the “only five or six ‘green’ countries” that Minister Lemoyne mentioned are some of the ones placed in EU Council’s list of epidemiologically safe third countries, which since May 6 consists of Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, as well as China, including Hong Kong and Macao.

France remains one of the most affected countries in Europe by the halt of travel and tourism as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions. Data shows that in 2020, the country lost €103 billion after the sector’s contribution to France’s gross domestic product (GDP) dropped by 48.8 per cent.

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