Paris has said it will ban UK tourists from entering France in an attempt to slow the spread of the more contagious Omicron variant on Covid-19, which is already rampant in Britain.
Speaking on Thursday, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said applying tougher rules on people traveling from the UK would give France more time to prepare for the forthcoming wave of infections.
France will prohibit all travel from the UK unless there is a compelling reason for it. Travel for the purpose of tourism and business will be banned, Paris said in a statement.
“We are going to put in place more drastic controls at the border with the UK,” Attal said in an interview with France’s BFMTV. The measures, to be unveiled by the prime minister’s office later on Thursday, will include reducing the age of a valid PCR test from 48 hours to 24 hours for those arriving from the UK. The change will come into force from Saturday regardless of vaccination status.
The move comes after Britain recorded its highest number of Covid-19 cases in a single day on Wednesday, although it is worth noting that testing capacity was greatly reduced during the first wave of the virus in 2020.
Increasing Covid-19 cases in the UK have been partially blamed on the arrival of the Omicron variant. British Transport Minister Grant Shapps confirmed on Thursday that hauliers would be exempt from the French restrictions.