France bans all tourism and business travel from UK

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced today that British tourists will be banned from entering France in an attempt to slow the spread of the more contagious Omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus.

Paris has said that applying tougher rules on people traveling from the United Kingdom would give France more time to prepare for the forthcoming new wave of COVID-19 infections.

France will prohibit all travel from the UK if there is a compelling reason for it, Paris said in a statement.

Travel for the purpose of tourism and business from the UK to France will be banned for now.

“We are going to put in place more drastic controls at the border with the UK,” Attal said in an interview with French BFMTV.

New restrictions, 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, which is already rampant in Britain. British Transport Minister Grant Shapps confirmed on Thursday that haulers would be exempt from the French restrictions. 

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