France to restrict travel from UK over Omicron surge  Read more at:
France to restrict travel from UK over Omicron surge Read more at:

Ban UK travellers

Brits who planned France holidays have been dealt a blow as the country is introducing a travel ban on Brits due to concerns over rising numbers of Omicron variant cases in the UK.

From midnight Saturday (2300 GMT Friday) there will be a "requirement to have an essential reason to travel to, or come from, the UK, both for the unvaccinated and vaccinated... People cannot travel for touristic or professional reasons," the government said in a statement.

"Faced with the extremely rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK, the government has chosen to reinstate the need for an essential reason for travel from and to the UK," the statement said.

The latest figures showed new COVID-19 infections in the UK reached the highest daily level since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than 78,000 total cases reported on Wednesday.

The tight travel restrictions are also being imposed during what analysts see as a breakdown of trust between the British and French governments in the wake of Brexit over a host of issues from migrants to fishing.

French President Emmanuel Macron last week accused UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government of failing to keep its word on Brexit, saying "the problem with the British government is that it does not do what it says".

French citizens and EU nationals

It added that French citizens and EU nationals could still return to France from the UK.

"We will put in place a system of controls drastically tighter than the one we have already," government spokesman Gabriel Attal told BFMTV channel.

Attal said the policy was aimed at "tightening the net" to slow down the arrival of Omicron cases in France and give time for the French vaccination booster campaign to make more ground.

"Our strategy is to delay as much as we can the development of Omicron in our country and take advantage to push ahead with the booster drive," he said.

According to the UK Foreign Office: "Face masks are mandatory in all enclosed public spaces. While it is no longer a requirement to wear a mask in all outdoor public spaces in France, it remains mandatory in a number of departments. Please check local guidance for more information. Across France, masks are still compulsory in large gatherings, queues, markets and stadiums.

"Wearing masks on public transport is compulsory for all users aged 11 and over, with fines for those who are not compliant. Masks are also compulsory in taxis and private hire vehicles without a plexiglass screen."

Anyone aged 12 or over also requires a 'pass sanitaire' to access the likes of bars, restaurants and museums, which can include either proof of a vaccination certificate, or a negative Covid test taken within the last 24 hours.

You can find out more in the Foreign Office's latest France travel advice.

Omicron has so far been found in at least 77 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with many reimposing travel restrictions to stem the spread.

France, Spain, UAE added to COVID ‘red’ list of banned countries

France isn't the only country to have tightened up its rules in recent weeks due to the emergence of Omicron.

Earlier this month Spain introduced a new requirement meaning that Brits must be fully vaccinated to visit, while Switzerland had originally introduced a mandatory 10-day quarantine for UK travellers although this has subsequently been scrapped in favour of strict testing rules.

Ireland, Norway, Finland and Sweden also joining list of nations Israelis are forbidden from entering, which already includes the UK and South Africa.

Government ministers in Israel vote to extend the ban on foreigners entering Israel for an additional week, through at least December 29.

The ban, which first came into effect at the end of November, was originally put in place for two weeks, but is now being extended for the second time, as fears of the COVID Omicron variant take hold across the world.

Israel was largely shut to tourism from March 2020 through November 1, 2021, but the reopening proved to be short-lived.

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