France toughens Covid-19 testing rules for non-EU travellers

15 January 2021 - 11:44 By Reuters
A Covid-19 rapid test center tent is set up in front of a pharmacy in Paris, France, January 14, 2021.
A Covid-19 rapid test center tent is set up in front of a pharmacy in Paris, France, January 14, 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

France has announced that people travelling from non-EU countries will no longer be able to get into the country by presenting a negative result from a quick, readily-available Covid-19 test.

The new rules, which come into force from Jan. 18 and are set out in a French government document, say people will no longer be able to use antigen, or lateral flow, tests that can deliver results within minutes.

Those quicker tests have been heavily used by truck drivers transporting goods across the Channel between Britain and France.

For the past several weeks, France has been requiring people who enter France from Britain to prove they don't have Covid-19.

It was not immediately clear what affect the new testing rules would have on cross-Channel goods transport, which has already been affected by Britain's departure from the European Union.

British Transport Minister Grant Shapps said on Friday that hauliers could use the lateral flow tests. There was no mention of an exception for truckers in French government guidance published to date.

If lateral flow or antigen tests are not accepted, travellers will have to seek PCR tests.

They can take several days to produce the results, and are less widely available in Britain for people who don't have a medical justification for getting tested.  

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