France will require, from Sunday at 00:00, a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours before departure for most European travellers wanting to enter its territory, President Emmanuel Macron announced at the European Council.
This obligation will apply “excluding essential travel”, the Elysée said: “Frontier workers and land transport will in particular be exempted”.
Paris had already decided on 14 January to subject travellers from a country outside the European Union (EU) to this rule. Cross-border workers and “essential” workers were already exempted.
The Elysée said that the approach chosen by the Head of State was also that of “many of his European counterparts”.
In Stockholm, the European epidemics agency called on Europeans to “prepare for a rapid escalation of the rigour of measures (to counter the virus) in the coming weeks in order to preserve health care capabilities, as well as to speed up vaccination campaigns”.
In France, where the balance sheet is now close to 72,000 deaths, the number of contaminations recorded again exceeded the figure of 20,000 on Thursday, and the spectrum of a third containment seems to be looming.
Emmanuel Macrons decision comes at the end of a videoconference summit of the 27 Member States in which Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, sounded the alarm over the “very serious health situation” caused throughout Europe by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Noting that “all non-essential travel must be strongly discouraged”, the leader said, however, that it was “of the utmost importance to continue to operate the single market”, i.e. to continue to allow the “smooth transport of essential workers and goods across the borders” of EU countries.
By CCEiT (AFP source)