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


FILE PHOTO: Orange and green lanes for entry into France and the EU are seen on the road as new customs infrastructure for Brexit at Eurotunnel terminal in Coquelles, near Calais, France, December 31, 2020. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

PARIS (Reuters) - People travelling from non-EU countries to France will no longer be allowed enter by presenting a negative result from a quick COVID-19 test, but cross-Channel truck drivers will be exempt, the French government said on Friday.

The new rules, which come into force from Monday, 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.

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 do not have a medical justification for getting tested.

For the past several weeks, France has been requiring people who enter France from Britain to prove they do not have COVID-19. Both PCR and antigen tests have been accepted.

The quicker tests have been heavily used by truck drivers transporting goods across the Channel between Britain and France, and helped unblock a backlog of trucks that briefly disrupted supplies of goods at the end of December.

French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said on Friday truck drivers would still, for the time being, be able to get into France by using one of the quicker tests.

"The provisions applicable to road hauliers coming from Britain are maintained while waiting for a coordinated plan between European countries," Djebbari said in a tweet.

(Reporting by Christian Lowe, Kate Holton and Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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