France closes its borders to all countries outside the European Union

French Prime Minister, Jean Castex

As of today, Jan 31, France has imposed a ban on all but essential travel from outside the EU and testing requirements on travellers from within the EU will be tightened.

These measures apply to the French overseas departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said France’s night curfew would be more tightly enforced and large shopping centres would close.

But the measures were seen as mild.

The new border restrictions will affect the UK, now no longer in the EU, but its transport minister clarified on Twitter that the change would not impact hauliers transporting goods to or from the UK.

Mr. Castex said that from Sunday, apart from exceptional reasons, “any entry into France and any exit from our territory to or from a country outside the European Union will be prohibited”.

A number of countries are exempted, as they are not considered at risk, they are Australia, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore and Thailand.

In addition, arrivals from inside the EU, and several other states – Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, the Vatican and Switzerland – will have to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

All arrivals, not just by air and sea, but by land too, must comply with the test rule.

There are exemptions, including cross-border workers and hauliers, and other groups such as students, health workers and diplomats, although the list is not fully defined.

The new Covid variants are, of course, the main motivating factor, and travel to the UK, which has been hit by the UK – or Kent – variant, is “strongly discouraged”.

There were few specific details about how the measures would be enforced, particularly on those arriving by road and having to provide test results.

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