News Digest: New Travel Changes & Covid Rules as Omicron Variant Spreads



News Digest: New Travel Changes & Covid Rules as Omicron Variant Spreads

There’s a lot to unpack this week, as France unveils new health restrictions and vaccine booster requirements, and the UK brings in stricter travel rules in an attempt to halt the spread of the Omicron variant. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.

1. Covid Boosters for Over 18s in France

Last Thursday (November 25th), French health minister Olivier Véran held a press conference announcing the new health restrictions coming into effect in France as part of the ongoing fight against the fifth wave of Covid. The most important changes for those who are resident in France concern France’s vaccination programme.

As of Saturday, November 27th, vaccine boosters are now available to all over 18s. The timeframe for boosters has now been reduced from six months to five months after your last vaccination, and this third vaccine will be soon be required in order to maintain access to the Pass Sanitaire. Find out all the details in our article on How to Get a Covid 19 Vaccine Booster in France.

2. French Health Regulations Tighten

Véran reaffirmed that another lockdown is not planned for those living in France (although it is not ruled out as a possibility if the circumstances were to change). However, there will be a tightening of health restrictions around France, including the following:

  • Mask-wearing will once again be mandatory for all indoor public areas, including those which require a Pass Sanitaire for entry. Local authorities can also impose these rules in outdoor areas and for local events, and this is being encouraged.
  • A Pass Sanitaire will be required for entry to France’s Christmas markets.
  • As of yesterday (November 29), the use of a negative Covid test to activate the Pass Sanitaire (the only way for the unvaccinated to access the app) will be limited to 24 hours (it was previously 72 hours). Travellers from the UK should note that as the Health Pass is required for all children over 12, this rule will also affect unvaccinated children travelling to France with their parents.

3. Travel From France to the UK

With the arrival of the Omicron variant, the UK has yet again introduced more rules for those travelling to the UK. For the moment, these rules apply only to England and Wales, but they will apply to all arrivals from France, whether you are a British citizen, French national, or returning to your UK residence from a holiday abroad.

Vaccinated travellers were already required to book and pay for a test on day 2 of arrival in the UK. However, this test must now be a PCR test and – crucially – arrivals must now self-isolate until a negative test result is received. This self-isolation can take place at a destination of your choice (such as a hotel, family home, friend’s house, or other accommodation), and you will be allowed to travel to this destination on arrival in the UK before the isolation period begins.

Read the full requirements for travel between France and the UK.

The rules for travelling to France from the UK remain the same (although, as always, this may change, especially as France today confirmed its first Omicron case).

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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