France to impose mandatory COVID tests for travellers from China

Travellers queue to board a plane at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport amid a wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China December 30, 2022. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

PARIS, Dec 30 (Reuters) - France will require travellers from China to provide a negative COVID-19 test result less than 48 hours before departure, the health and transport ministries said on Friday.

The test will be required on all flights from China, including flights with stopovers. Travellers on airplanes arriving from China will also have to wear masks.

Having kept its borders all but shut for three years, imposing a strict regime of lockdowns and relentless testing, Beijing abruptly reversed course toward living with the virus on Dec. 7, and infections have spread rapidly in recent weeks.

France did not set a start date for the measures but will publish a government decree and notify European Union member states, the ministries said.

A government source told Reuters it would take "a little while" for the mandatory testing to be put in place.

From Jan. 1, France will also carry out random PCR COVID tests upon arrival on some travellers coming from China, a government official told reporters.

The government also recommended that people with weak immune systems delay non-essential travel to China.

South Korea and Spain on Friday joined a growing list of countries, including the United States, India and others, which have imposed COVID tests for travellers from China.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Geert De Clercq; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Josie Kao

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