EU citizens can enter France from UK if they have negative COVID test, says PM

PARIS (Reuters) -French and EU citizens will again be allowed to enter France from Britain from midnight on Tuesday provided they have a negative COVID-19 test that is less than 72 hours old, the French prime minister’s office said.

An empty road were trucks from Britain usually leave the Eurotunnel terminal to join the highway is seen in Coquelles near Calais, northern France, after France barred all people coming from the United Kingdom, for 48 hours from Sunday night, over fears of a new strain of the coronavirus, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in France, December 22, 2020. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

An announcement on the resumption of goods transport would be made later on Tuesday evening, the French transport minister said.

France and several other countries closed their borders to Britain on Monday over fears of a highly infectious new coronavirus strain, causing travel chaos and stranding many French citizens in Britain.

“Planes, boats and the Eurostar (train) will start operating again from (Wednesday) morning,” French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said on Twitter.

The prime minister’s office statement said British citizens or citizens from third countries who have residence in France or the European Union can also enter the country or transit through it from Britain as long as they have a negative COVID test.

UK citizens or people from third countries with legitimate professional or other reasons for travelling from Britain will also be allowed into France, provided they test negative.

The French government listed several categories of people to whom this would be applicable, including those in transit for less than 24 hours in international zones, diplomats and their families, health workers, airline staff and bus or train operators.

The new rules will be in place until Jan. 6, unless reviewed following bilateral UK-France or EU-wide talks.

The statement did not mention truckers, who have been blocked in Britain in their hundreds since the border closed, with many drivers stuck for days.

Djebbari said on BFM television that announcements about goods transport would be made after 2200 local time (2100 GMT) in coordination with British authorities.

“I urge truckers not to present themselves yet at the embarkation point in Kent in order to avoid clogging up the system, which is now being made operational again,” he said.

He said the aim was to restart goods transport in order to avoid gaps in logistics chains, particularly for food products.

Reporting by Geert De ClercqEditing by Mark Heinrich and Giles Elgood