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Brits banned from holidaying in France

Written by: Emma Lunn
The French government is banning non-essential travel to and from the UK from tomorrow night to slow the spread of Omicron.

The French government said in a statement that from 11pm Friday (12am in France), there will be a “requirement to have an essential reason to travel to, or come from, the UK, both for the unvaccinated and vaccinated… People cannot travel for touristic or professional reasons.”

The statement added that “Faced with the extremely rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK, the government has chosen to reinstate the need for an essential reason for travel from and to the UK.”

The French government said anyone, vaccinated or unvaccinated, entering France from the UK must have a ‘compelling reason’. It said being French, or being the spouse or child of a French person, counted as a compelling reason.

French citizens and EU nationals can still return to France from the UK. Returning travellers will need a negative test taken in the past 24 hours, and will need to self-isolate for seven days. This can be shortened to 48 hours if a negative test is carried out in France.

Brittany Ferries told the BBC: “If confirmed, these new measures could be a hammer blow to our Christmas season. In the context of an Omicron variant that is passing through the French population as it is in the UK, further border controls seem as unnecessary as they are unwelcome.”

Transport secretary Grant Shapps Tweeted that hauliers would be exempt from the ban.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: “The rollercoaster ride for our sector during the pandemic continues. Today’s news that France is closing its borders to tourists is another hammer blow to the winter holiday sector, and has overshadowed this week’s removal of 11 countries from the red list. The government must now come forward with a support package, recognising that the travel sector is uniquely compromised by Covid health restrictions, here and in destination.

“The rationale for taking countries off the red list, in that there is now clear community transmission of the Omicron virus within the UK, applies equally to pre-departure tests and day 2 PCR tests on return. ABTA, together with airlines and airports, is continuing to press this point home, and pushing for a removal of testing requirements ahead of the proposed review date at the beginning of January.”

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