Covid-19: France eases travel restrictions for UK and six other countries

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France will ease some restrictions on international travellers from outside Europe beginning on Friday, the foreign ministry has announced, including those from Australia, Britain, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea.

The ministry said in a statement that people travelling to and from those seven countries will no longer have to provide documentation proving that they have a "compelling" reason for their voyage such as a family or medical emergency.

French Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said this easing was due to the improving health situation in those countries.

"The list includes Britain, because the UK variant now also circulates widely in France," he added on his Twitter feed.

All other restrictions, such as a requirement for a negative Covid-19 test less than 72 hours before travel, would remain in place, the ministry said, adding a decree was due to be published on Friday.

Lemoyne said that for other non-European Union countries the list of legitimate travel motives would be widened, notably to take into account family situations.

The foreign ministry statement said new legitimate reasons for travel would include the fact that one person in a couple – both married or in civil partnership – is living abroad for professional reasons.

Other legitimate reasons include families living abroad but who have children in school in France, couples with children abroad and in France, students taking an exam, as well as people returning to their principal residence if that is in France.

The ministry said it still strongly recommends limiting international travel as much as possible.

By curbing international travel on January 14, the government had hoped to get a grip on the circulation of the coronavirus and its new, more contagious variants.

Passengers were required to provide documentation proving that their travel met the necessary threshold at airline counters during check-in and then again at border control. Border police required written proof before allowing passengers to board.

>> France begins limiting travel outside the EU to curb the spread of Covid-19

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters)