Selasa, 22 Desember 2020

French citizens allowed home from UK if tested COVID negative amid calls for lift on travel ban - ABC News

French borders with Britain will remain closed for UK citizens for now, but French citizens can come home from Britain, provided they have proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

French radio franceinfo, quoting a Government source, said this new rule would be applicable to both French citizens living in Britain and to French tourists who spent a holiday in Britain.

It also said that British citizens who reside in France permanently could return to France provided they have a negative COVID test, and that professionals such as truckers could also return in this way.

For all others notably British citizens the France-UK border will remain closed until further notice, franceinfo reported.

Two adults carry baggage behind airport queue, only their hands and legs are visible, as a child sits on one of the suitcases.
A family queues with their luggage at the airport in Duesseldorf, Germany, for a Corona test, while a British flag with the words "London" can be seen on the suitcase on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. Due to the emergence of a new, supposedly more contagious variant of the virus in the south-east of England, flights from the UK have been grounded as of today, although flights to the UK are continuing. (AP: Jonas Guettler)

BFM television also reported that French citizens in Britain could return from Wednesday (local time) provided they have a negative COVID test.

France and several other countries closed their borders to Britain on Monday over fears of a highly infectious new coronavirus strain, causing travel chaos and stranding many French citizens in Britain.

The new rules follow the European Commission throwing Britain a lifeline, advising that non-essential travel to and from Britain should be discouraged but people heading home should be allowed to do so, provided they undergo a COVID-19 test or quarantine for 10 days.

"Blanket travel bans should not prevent thousands of EU and UK citizens from returning to their homes," European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said in a statement.

The recommendations have been designed to set common rules within the European Union and the ambassadors will consider adopting them, as France appears to have done.

However, border controls are governed by national policy, so each EU country can have its own rules.

Food supply worries before Christmas

The UK border closures have been causing headaches across Europe, especially for those trying to transport perishable food.

While trucks can still cross from France into Britain, they cannot return, so European truck drivers are extremely reluctant to travel.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been scrambling to get French President Emmanuel Macron to lift the ban, asserting that the new strain of the virus was only identified because British scientists were so efficient at genomic surveillance.

The Prime Minister's office would make a statement about the latest travel policy later on, according to local media.

The UK is in effective COVID-19 quarantine just nine days before it is due to part ways with the EU after a transition period considered to be one of the biggest changes in post-World War II British history.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called a meeting of members for Wednesday to discuss strategies to counter the new variant of the virus in Britain.

A spokeswoman said the meeting was designed to help with information-sharing.

"Limiting travel to contain spread is prudent until we have better info," Hans Kluge, the WHO's Regional Director for Europe said on twitter.


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2020-12-22 20:10:00Z

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