France to start charging foreign tourists for Covid tests

Foreign visitors to France will need to pay for PCR and antigenic Covid tests from 7 July.
Foreign visitors to France will need to pay for PCR and antigenic Covid tests from 7 July. AFP - JUAN MABROMATA

Foreign visitors to France will be required to fork out 49 euros for their Covid-19 PCR tests from 7 July, the government has announced.


In an interview with business daily Les Echoes late Wednesday, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said tourists would also be charged 29 euros for antigenic tests.

“It's a question of reciprocity, given that French people travelling to other counties are required to pay for these tests,” he said.

The government is also looking at charging citizens who repeatedly undergo "comfort" PCR tests from the start of the school year in September. 

Attal said the move, recommended by the Academy of Medicine, would be in line with a change in strategy through which encouraging vaccination would be given priority over testing. 

Vaccination 'too slow'

Fifty percent of French people have now received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine. However, the Pasteur Institute in Paris has warned that the current rate of vaccination is not sufficient to prevent a fourth wave of the epidemic this autumn.

Official statistics show that nearly five million French people over the age of 55 have yet to receive their first jab. 

Attal also responded to Wednesday’s announcement by French Prime Minister Jean Castex that consultations would be launched with local officials on the possibility of forcing nursing home workers to get vaccinated.

"So far we have chosen conviction rather than coercion, but this could change – because we cannot accept any risk to the residents of nursing homes linked to unvaccinated carers,” Attal said.

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