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After massive outrage by UK cabinet ministers, the 10-day quarantine on fully vaccinated arrivals from France has been scrapped, giving the green light to sun-seeking Brits to start booking trips again.
In another volte face by the UK government, fully vaccinated visitors and residents, as well as children under 18, coming from France will no longer be asked to self-isolate for 10 days, putting the country back on the same footing as other amber-list European countries.
The announcement came on Wednesday and was brought about by pressure from the tourism sector and from inside the government itself. The move to eliminate “watchlists” and “amber plus” countries, as France was previously classified, will help reduce confusion around travel rules and hopefully boost the number of French tourists wanting to come across the Channel to holiday as well as encourage UK travellers to spend time abroad.
Several other countries were upgraded to the green list, meaning no quarantine whether visitors are vaccinated or not, and include Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway. France and Spain remain amber for now, though Spain is under close watch.
All changes come into effect at 4am on Sunday 8th August GMT.
UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said the new rules were significant. “While we must continue to be cautious, today’s changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public,” he said.
For UK travellers entering France, adults who are fully vaccinated and children aged 12 or under travelling with them will no longer need to provide a negative PCR or antigen test, nor will they be required to present any forms to quarantine. Proof of vaccination must be presented at border controls to receive the exemption.
Unvaccinated visitors are asked to supply a sworn “Statement of Honour” for those over 12 years of age and a Travel Certificate to Metropolitan France for those 18 and older. They must also present a privately obtained negative PCR or antigen test taken no more than 24 hours before travel and must then quarantine for seven days upon arrival.
When France was categorised as “amber plus” at the very start of the school holidays, it came as a major blow. UK travellers are still hesitant, with airline seat capacity this week sitting at a paltry 42% of 2019 levels. Europe has rebounded better and sits at 68%, according to data from OAG.
The changes on both sides of the Channel are expected to be a boon for struggling airlines and the hospitality sectors. France was second only to Spain pre-pandemic for the number of visitors from the UK, with dozens of flights offered per week.
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