| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

France might tighten entries from Britain due to COVID Omicron surge

France is contemplating tightening controls for travellers coming from Britain, where the new, more contagious, Omicron coronavirus variant seems to be rapidly spreading, said French government spokesman Gabriel Attal.

“Regarding Britain, the current rule is to show a negative test less than 48 hours old in order to enter France,” Attal told France Info radio on Tuesday.

“But we are always looking at means to tighten the framework, we are currently working on that and we should, I think, come to a conclusion in the coming days”, he added.

At least one person has died in the United Kingdom after contracting the Omicron variant, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, marking the first publicly confirmed death globally from the fast-spreading new strain.

Attal said France, currently engulfed in a fifth wave of COVID fuelled mainly by the Delta variant, presently had 133 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong in late November.

Despite the threat of this variant, he said there were no plans at this stage to take new restrictive measures to contain the disease, adding that accelerating the COVID vaccine booster jab campaign was the key part of the French government strategy.

“Regarding rules in France, there are no plans to change them (…) the key is to pursue the vaccination campaign with the booster shot,” Attal said, while adding that the government was nevertheless constantly monitoring the situation.

The seven-day moving average of daily new cases, which evens out reporting irregularities, stood on Monday at a more than one year high of 48,879. At 14,527, the current number of people hospitalised for COVID-19 has reached a peak since June 5.

France reported on Dec 13 that a further 231 people had died from COVID in hospitals in the last 24 hours, while the number of COVID patients in intensive care units (ICUs) had risen by 150 to stand at 2,752.

  • Reuters