France has begun restricting non-essential travel from the UK due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus variant first identified in India.
The regulations were announced last week but came into force from Monday when entry to France from Britain is permitted only for EU nationals, French residents or people travelling for “compelling reasons”. The rules apply to all air, car, ferry and train passengers, and to people who have been vaccinated.
Those permitted to travel must take a pre-departure PCR Covid test if aged 11 or over and must also agree to quarantine for seven days on arrival in France.
The variant of concern, B.1.617.2, is thought to be driving a rise in Covid cases in parts of the UK and spreading across England, leading some scientists to warn the country is in its third wave of coronavirus.
An update on the website of the consulate general of France in London said: “Given the development of the so-called Indian variant, health measures have been tightened for people travelling to France from the UK.”
From Monday morning, it reads, “compelling reasons will be required for foreign nationals outside the EU not resident in France to travel to France from the UK” and “a PCR or antigen test less than 48 hours old will be required from anyone travelling to France from the UK”, while on arrival “travellers are obliged to self-isolate for seven days”.
It added: “Due to the low incidence of Covid in the UK, for the moment they will not be subject to systematic checks where they are staying.”
France is designated as an “amber list” destination under the UK government’s traffic light system. The government has said people should not travel to amber countries unless essential, with travellers required to self-isolate at home for up to 10 days and take two Covid tests upon return.
The French government continues to strongly advise limiting international travel to a minimum.
Non-EU travellers entering France must complete a sworn statement form certifying they do not have Covid symptoms and are not aware of having come into contact with anyone with the virus in the 14 days before their trip.
Proof of the negative pre-departure test and a sworn declaration to self-isolate for seven days on arrival in France must also be made, along with a second test after the quarantine period.
Alemania barred most travel from the UK last week and requires a two-week quarantine on arrival even with a negative test, and Austria has reinstated its ban on all direct flights from Britain from 1 junio.