Tourism

France gives green light to vaccinated EU travellers but US, UK still 'orange'

3 million people visit Mont Saint-Michel in the French western region of Normandy each year
3 million people visit Mont Saint-Michel in the French western region of Normandy each year © Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

The French government announced Friday it will fully open its borders to EU residents who have been vaccinated against Covid from 9 June, while vaccinated travellers from "orange" countries Britain and the United States – will still need a to present a negative Covid test.

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From next Wednesday, visitors from the EU will no longer have to provide a negative antigen or PCR test on arrival in France providing they have had a full course of one of the four vaccines authorised by the bloc (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen). 

The eased rules also apply to seven non-EU countries deemed "green": Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand and Singapore.

The measures are part of plans to start easing border controls and boost France’s crucial tourism industry as the country emerges from its third coronavirus lockdown.

People coming from “green” zones will also no longer have to give a compelling reason for entering France.

Unvaccinated children will be allowed in with vaccinated adults.

"We have to reconcile freedom of mobility with the need for security," Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said on BFM television on Friday.

"Nothing would be worse than to enter yet another Covid wave because we were not careful enough," he said.

A boost for tourism

The news comes as a relief to the tourism sector, which worried that coronavirus tests that are free in France but can cost 100 euros or more in some countries would deter foreign visitors.

From 1 July, France will recognise a European "health pass" proving inoculation against the coronavirus that authorises travel within the bloc, according to updated guidelines published by the government Friday.

But travel to and from much of the rest of the world where the virus is still circulating will remain subject to stricter controls.

In orange zones including Britain, North America and most of Asia and Africa, even vaccinated travellers to France will still have to produce a recent negative Covid test, but they also no longer have to prove compelling reasons to visit, nor will they have to go into quarantine for seven days.

For non-vaccinated people coming from orange zones, only essential trips such as medical or family emergencies will be allowed, the government said.

Sixteen countries will remain largely off-limits because of a surge in coronavirus variants that appear to be more contagious or serious and could prove less responsive to the four vaccines authorised in Europe.

They include India, Turkey, South Africa and much of South America including Brazil.

Travellers from these countries will need to provide negative Covid-19 tests whether vaccinated or not, and will have to quarantine for seven to 10 days on arrival.

Classification of countries in green, orange and red zones are subject to change, depending on the spread of Covid-19 and variants in each country.

(with AFP)

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