France said on Saturday it would require people not fully vaccinated and arriving from certain European countries to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 24 hours.
Arrivals from the UK, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece and the Netherlands will be subject to the new rule, which will take effect from Saturday to Sunday at midnight, Prime Minister Jean said. Castex in a press release.
As of today, people arriving from the UK are required to show a negative test taken within the last 48 hours.
Arrivals from Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Greece had to present tests carried out within 72 hours.
But Castex said people fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognized by the European Medicines Agency – Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson – will not be required to take a test.
The press release specifies that the exemption is in place because “the vaccines are effective against the virus, and in particular its Delta variant”.
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France will consider people fully vaccinated one week after receiving the second dose of Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, instead of 14 days before, and 28 days after their Johnson & Johnson injection, Castex said.
France will now also accept vaccination with Covishield, a copy of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, for its health pass.
The government also said Tunisia, Mozambique, Cuba and Indonesia will be added to France’s red list.
Travel from Red List countries is only allowed for urgent reasons and even then, vaccinated travelers must self-isolate for seven days.
“Exponential” increase in cases
The new measures come as several European countries battle a growing number of cases, blamed in part on the highly transmissible Delta variant that has taken hold on the continent.
New infections have increased in France in recent weeks, reaching nearly 11,000 on Friday, even as the government rushes to vaccinate the population.
President Emmanuel Macron said this week that vaccine passes would be required to enter most public places and that all health workers must be fully immunized, sparking a rush to book jab appointments.
About 35.5 million people – just over half of the French population – have so far received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said this week it expects a sharp increase in coronavirus cases on the continent, with nearly five times as many new infections by August 1 .
In order to control the increase in numbers, the French region of Pyrénées-Orientales will demand the closure of bars, restaurants, beaches and food stores at 11 p.m. from Saturday to August 2, the prefecture announced on Saturday.
The move came after cases in the region fell in a single week from 41.5 per 100,000 people to 258.8 per 100,000 people.
“This exponential progression is starting to translate into an equally growing number of hospitalizations,” warned the prefecture in its press release announcing the measures.
The region on Friday made the wearing of a mask compulsory in all public spaces except beaches and large natural spaces and prohibited the consumption of alcohol in public spaces other than bars and restaurants.