France to ban non-essential travel from the UK starting this weekend

France is introducing tougher rules for travellers from the UK from midnight on Friday in response to the rise of the Omicron variant.

People arriving from Britain will be required to show a negative Covid test that is less than 24 hours old, to test again upon arrival and self-isolate for seven days – unless they have a second negative test after 48 hours. 

French travellers are being dissuaded from visiting the UK.

In a statement, the office of French Prime Minister Jean Castex said: “In the face of the extremely rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the United Kingdom, the Government has chosen to reinstate compelling reasons for travel to and from the United Kingdom, and to strengthen the requirement for testing on departure and arrival.

“In the UK Government’s own words, the UK will face a ‘tidal wave’ linked to the Omicron variant in the coming days.”

READ MORE: Circuit breaker lockdown needed to stop Omicron spread

Travellers will need a “compelling reason” to travel to or from the UK, but this does to apply to French nationals and their spouses and children. 

“These compelling reasons do not include tourism or business reasons,” it continues.

“Vaccinated people must present a negative test (PCR or TAG) of less than 24 hours, which is in line with the rules already in place for unvaccinated people.”

Travellers from the UK must “register, prior to their trip, on a digital platform and provide the address of their stay in France”.

They must then “isolate in a place of their choosing”, and the “quarantine may be lifted after 48 hours, subject to proof of a negative test”.

The statement adds: “Controls will be organised to ensure the proper implementation of these measures.

“The Government also calls on travellers who had planned to visit the United Kingdom to postpone their travel.”

The new measures will apply to everyone regardless of vaccination status.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said hauliers will be exempt.

He tweeted: “To confirm I have liaised with my French counterpart (Jean-Baptiste Djebbari) and hauliers will remain exempt.”

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