French airport Charles-de-Gaulle applies the Covid-19 test on arrival

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                L'aéroport français de Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle a commencé les tests obligatoires à l'arrivée pour les passagers de 16 pays où le virus coronavirus circule largement.  Cela survient alors que le nombre de cas quotidiens de Covid-19 continue d'augmenter à travers le pays.
            

"Je suis désolé mais votre test Covid n'est plus valide. Veuillez faire la queue de ce côté pour passer le test." C'est ainsi que Rob, un voyageur du nord de la Californie, a été accueilli par un garde des douanes français alors qu'il débarquait à Paris le 4 août, après un vol de 11 heures au départ de San Francisco.

“It was a bit disorganized and there was some confusion as to whether the test should be done 72 hours before boarding or landing. A second customs officer checked my test again and finally allowed me to pass without another test, ”said the frequent traveler to Europe. FRANCE 24.

Rob and all other passengers on flight AF87 out of San Francisco had to produce a recent negative Covid-19 test result or face a mandatory nasal test on arrival. The French authorities applied this Covid-19 testing policy on arrival on August 1, after establishing a list of 16 high-risk countries where the Covid-19 virus is widely circulating. This list includes the United States, Brazil, Algeria, Turkey, India, Israel, South Africa, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Panama, Madagascar, Peru, Qatar, Oman and Serbia.

Rob, a traveler from northern California, shows the green dot sticker on his passport – a sign that he showed a recent negative covid test result to customs guards at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on Aug 4, 2020 Mehdi Chebil
    
"Il est bon de savoir que la plupart des personnes qui se trouvaient dans l'avion avaient en fait été testées négatives avant l'embarquement", a déclaré à FRANCE 24 Josselin Lefrançois, un Français vivant à San Francisco.

Like Rob, he took his Covid-19 test in the United States a few days before his flight. “It’s always important to have free mandatory tests on arrival, too. Some US labs take too long, about six days, to provide results. And it can also be expensive, ”added the tech entrepreneur, who paid $ 250 for his test.

There are currently three Covid-19 test centers at Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. Two are located near the arrivals gate at terminals 2E and 2A. The third – where mandatory checks on arrival are carried out – is located in the customs area of ​​Terminal 2E, near the baggage claim.

Amadou Sylla undergoes a nasal covid test at Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris on August 04, 2020
Amadou Sylla undergoes a nasal covid test at Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris on August 04, 2020 Mehdi Chebil
    
Pas de quarantaine à l'arrivée

After checking in with ID and an email address, people get tested in small booths behind the counter. Medical personnel in full protective gear insert a swab through the nasal passage to collect a sample for testing. The sample is then sent to a laboratory, which provides the test results within 24 to 48 hours.

Each airport test center performs hundreds of Covid-19 tests per day. Those near the arrivals gates actually accommodate a large number of outbound travelers – people who will be traveling from Paris to another destination where Covid-19 testing is also mandatory.

“I will fly to Conakry [the capital of Guinea, in West Africa] August 7. Guinean authorities are demanding that we have a negative Covid test result before entering the country. I took my boy to the airport today and it was a good opportunity to get there, ”Amadou Sylla told FRANCE 24 after his nasal test.

A traveler prepares to undergo a Covid test at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport on August 04, 2020
A traveler prepares to undergo a Covid test at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport on August 04, 2020 Mehdi Chebil
    
Le système de test des aéroports nécessite toujours la bonne volonté des passagers pour fonctionner efficacement. Les passagers des pays à haut risque ne sont pas mis en quarantaine en attendant les résultats du test Covid-19 qu'ils ont passé à leur arrivée.

“They present their identity document and are invited to fill out a form with their contact details,” explains Alyzee Feauveaux, of the Regional Health Agency (ARS), the agency in charge of the test centers. “In the event that their test comes back positive, we contact them immediately to ask them to isolate themselves and to find other people with whom they may have been in contact. ”

But French authorities have not organized a strict system of quarantine on arrival, like those in Hong Kong or South Korea, where authorities carefully check that incoming passengers remain isolated for 14 days after arrival.

A health worker shows a sample taken during a nasal covid test.  The sample will be sent to a laboratory, which will provide the test result within 24 to 48 hours.  Photo taken at Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris on August 04, 2020
A health worker shows a sample taken during a nasal covid test. The sample will be sent to a laboratory, which will provide the test result within 24 to 48 hours. Photo taken at Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris on August 04, 2020 Mehdi Chebil