France Imposes 7-Day Quarantine On UK Visitors; Could Affect Cannes Attendees

The French government has imposed a seven-day self-isolation period on visitors arriving from the UK, which will come into effect on May 31.

The move was made in response to concerns over the so-called ‘Indian variant’ (B.1.617.2), which has seen rising cases in the UK in recent weeks and has been found to be more transmissible than other forms of the virus. However, a recent study found that two injections of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines protected against the Indian variant as effectively as others.

Overall, UK numbers of Covid remain low and a slight recent increase in cases can also be partially pegged to the relaxing of lockdown restrictions earlier this month.

The French government is taking no chances. The country’s Covid cases have dropped steadily for the past month, falling from north of 60,000 per day in earl April to closer to 12,000 yesterday (May 26). The UK, which has been undergoing a rapid vaccination program, registered a little under 3,000 cases yesterday.

The rules will not impact French nations or residents. Travellers who are willing to accept the seven-day quarantine also need a “compelling reason” to travel and will still need to produce a negative test pre-departure. The period of self-isolation is slightly lower than for visitors from countries including Brazil, India, Argentina and Turkey.

If these rules remain in place, it would likely affect UK travellers intending to travel to the Cannes Film Festival in July. The new measure was only announced last night and more information will become available in the coming days, but it does not presently look like work travellers would be exempt, except for road haulers.

France had previously said fully vaccinated UK travellers would be welcome without quarantine from June 9. Further European nations have also moved to restrict travellers from the UK in response to the Indian variant, including Germany and Austria, while other countries such as Spain have recently reopened to Brit travellers as they look to kick-start the economically crucial tourist season.

Travellers from the United States currently have to show a compelling reason to enter France, though this can be professional-related. These rules are expected to be relaxed from June 9, once the European Union’s “health pass”, which would display fully-vaccinated status or a recent negative test, is introduced. The CDC currently advises against all travel to France.

As always with Covid, the situation remains fluid.

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