France is introducing mandatory Covid-19 on-site testing for people from 16 high-risk countries, including the United States.
Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Friday it was time to introduce universal testing for French citizens and residents returning from Covid hotspots. Free tests at the main airports in France will be introduced no later than August 1.
The “red” countries concerned are: South Africa, Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, India, Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Madagascar, Panama, Peru, Serbia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey and the United States.
Serbia, which is experiencing a peak in infections, is the only European country on the red list.
Travelers arriving from these countries will be required to submit a negative Covid test upon boarding. When “there is no screening strategy” and “access to testing is difficult,” France “will conduct generalized screening on arrival,” Castex said.
“All passengers arriving from these” red “countries will first go through customs formalities, then health formalities,” he added.
At Paris Charles de Gaulle, Europe’s second largest airport, the government plans to perform around 3,000 tests per day. Similar screening will be set up in all major French airports with arrivals from these hotspots.
Only French citizens who live in these countries, “or citizens of these countries with an established residence in France,” will be allowed in, Castex told reporters at the airport.
A similar step is taken by Germany. To reduce the threat posed in particular by returning German vacationers, it is introducing free Covid-19 testing stations at all major airports. Travelers from high-risk countries who do not take a test must self-quarantine for 14 days.
Avoid Catalonia, says France
According to Release, Jean Castex also “strongly” recommended to French travelers to avoid trips to Catalonia in Spain, of which Barcelona is the capital.
In this “region of Spain bordering France”, “the health situation has deteriorated markedly in recent days”, he reports. The French government is in talks with the Spanish authorities to ensure that travel from Spain is “as limited as possible”.
Big spike in new daily cases in France
It comes amid a sharp rise in new daily cases reported in France. According to the public health department, there have been 1,130 cases in 24 hours since Thursday. During the same period, there were 13 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 30,192.
France is concerned about the risk posed by the French and other nationals of high-risk countries, but also by the threat of those who are at home.
“The authorities deplore a loosening of respect for health precautions and note the increase in the incidence of the virus in young people, where its effects are not systematically visible”, reports Libé . “Government information campaigns will be implemented this summer on this subject.”