SHARE
COPY LINK

TRAVEL NEWS

France removes final countries from ‘scarlet’ list to ease Covid travel rules

France has removed the final three countries - including South Africa - from its 'scarlet' list, opening up travel again for people who are fully vaccinated.

Restrictions have been loosened for vaccinated travellers coming from South Africa to France.
Restrictions have been loosened for vaccinated travellers coming from South Africa to France. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)

South Africa was one of 10 countries put on the newly created ‘scarlet list’ in December, over fears of the Omicron variant – the list imposed extremely tough restrictions on travel, within even fully vaccinated people only allowed to travel if they fit one of the narrow criteria for ‘essential journeys’.

But the French government issued a decree on Thursday moving South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini from the “scarlet” list to the “red” list. Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi, Zambia and Maritius had previously been moved to the red list, meaning there are currently no countries classified as ‘scarlet’.

The UK is not technically classified as scarlet, but France has also imposed harsh restrictions that ban virtually all travel – although there are signs that these too could be relaxed soon.

Vaccinated travellers coming from South Africa and other former scarlet list countries no longer need an essential reason to travel to France and do not need to isolate for ten days upon arrival. Unvaccinated travellers still need an essential reason and must complete the quarantine. 

READ MORE France’s new Covid test rules for all non-EU arrivals

All travellers coming from South Africa must hold a negative PCR or antigen test result taken no more than 48 hours before travelling to mainland France, or 24 hours before travelling to French overseas territories. 

People travelling to French overseas territories like Mayotte or La Réunion still need to have an “essential reason” for travel, whether vaccinated or not. Tourism is not deemed an essential reason for travel.  

South Africa had been placed on the “scarlet red” list in November because of soaring Omicron cases in the country – but France now has record Omicron cases of its own. While France recorded 335,000 new Covid cases in 24 hours on Wednesday, South Africa is hovering at around 11,000 new daily cases – although it does test significantly less. 

READ MORE How does France’s Covid traffic light system for travel work?

The decision to remove South Africa from the ‘scarlet’ list comes after France has announced it would also be loosening travel restrictions on people coming from the UK. 

Speaking after the regular meeting of ministers on Wednesday, French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said that France government had “decided to expand the list of compelling reasons – in particular professional reasons.” 

Attal did not specify exactly when this change would come into place but floated the idea that it could come as soon as next week.

The next key date in the tourism calendar is the February school holiday, a time particularly important for the ski industry, where resorts are usually busy with both domestic and international visitors.

READ MORE UK government to relax Covid testing rules for arrivals from Europe

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TRAVEL NEWS

Red travel alert on France’s roads as summer holidays draw to a close

Another busy weekend on France’s roads is in store, as the summer holidays begin to draw to a close.

Red travel alert on France’s roads as summer holidays draw to a close

The country’s roads watchdog Bison Futé predicts very difficult travel conditions on major routes across the whole of the country, as holidaymakers head home on the penultimate weekend of les grandes vacances.

On Friday, the traffic monitor advises forecasts no particular problems for anyone travelling to holiday destinations, but advises road users heading home from popular resorts to:

  • Avoid the A13 between Rouen and Paris, from 5pm to 7pm;
  • Avoid the A10 between Bordeaux and Poitiers, from 12pm to 2pm;
  • Avoid the A8 between Nice and Aix-en-Provence, from 2pm to 6pm;
  • Avoid the A71 between Clermont-Ferrand and Orléans, from 11am to 3pm;
  • Avoid the A61 between Narbonne and Toulouse, from 4pm to 7pm;
  • Avoid the Mont-Blanc tunnel in direction of France, from 1pm to 9pm.

Image: Bison Futé

Saturday travel, however, looks set to be more complicated, with Bison Fute predicting ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’ conditions in both directions.

For outward journeys, it recommends that motorists should:

  • leave or cross the Île-de-France before 10am;
  • avoid the A13, between Paris and Rouen from 11am to 2pm;
  • avoid the A11, between Paris and Le Mans from 12pm to 6pm;
  • avoid the A10 freeway, between Orleans and Tours from 10am to 5pm, and between Bordeaux and Poitiers from 11am to 4pm;
  • avoid the A6 between Beaune and Lyon from 10am to 5pm;
  • avoid the A7 between Lyon and Orange from 8am to 6pm;
  • avoid the A20 between Limoges and Brive-la-Gaillarde from 11am to 5pm;
  • avoid the A71 between Orléans and Clermont-Ferrand from 10am to 4pm;
  • avoid the A62 between Bordeaux and Toulouse from 11am to 5pm;
  • avoid the A61 between Toulouse and Narbonne from 10am to 3pm.

For return journeys on Saturday, road users are advised to:

  • return to or cross the Île-de-France before 2pm;
  • avoid the A11 between Le Mans and Paris from 11am to 2pm;
  • avoid the A10 between Bordeaux and Poitiers from 10am to 3pm;
  • avoid the A6 between Lyon and Beaune from 1pm to 5pm;
  • avoid the A7 between Orange and Salon-de-Provence from 9am to 2pm;
  • avoid the A8 between Nice and Aix-en-Provence from 10am to 1pm;
  • avoid the A9 between Spain and Orange from 10am to 2pm;
  • avoid the A71 between Clermont-Ferrand and Bourges from 3pm to 6pm, and between Bourges and Orléans from 9am to 12pm;
  • avoid the A61 between Narbonne and Toulouse from 10am to 3pm;
  • avoid the A75 between Montpellier and Clermont-Ferrand from 12h to 14h;
  • avoid the Mont-Blanc tunnel in direction of France, from 4pm to 9pm.

Image: Bison Futé

Traffic levels ease a little on Sunday for those heading towards popular French tourist resorts, but are still considered ‘very difficult’ for those heading back home

The following advice is in place for outward journeys in France on Sunday

  • avoid the A7 between Lyon and Orange from 3pm to 9pm;
  • avoid the A9 between Montpellier and Narbonne from 3pm to 5pm;
  • avoid the A62 between Bordeaux and Toulouse from 4pm to 9pm;
  • avoid the A61 between Toulouse and Narbonne from 3pm to 5pm.

For return journeys, the advice is:

  • return to or cross the Ile-de-France before 12pm,
  • avoid the A11 between Le Mans and Paris from 3pm to 9pm,
  • avoid the A10 at the Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines tollgate from 4pm to 8pm, and between Bordeaux and Poitiers, from 11am to 5pm,
  • avoid the A6 between Lyon and Beaune from 11am to 9pm,
  • avoid the A7 between Lyon and Salon-de-Provence from 10am to 6pm,
  • avoid the A8 between Nice and Aix-en-Provence from 10am to 9pm,
  • avoid the A71 between Clermont-Ferrand and Bourges from 10am to 12pm,
  • avoid the Mont-Blanc tunnel in the direction of France from 2pm to 7pm.

Image: Bison Futé
 
The government will be back in Paris next week for the first Ministers meeting on August 24th, while schools start the new academic year the following week on Thursday, September 1st. 
SHOW COMMENTS