France: Omicron travel restrictions discussed by McCann
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Travel restrictions have ramped up around the world as a rise in cases of the Omicron variant leaves governments scrambling. Spain, France, Italy and the Netherlands have all tightened coronavirus restrictions in recent days.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Britons who are abroad or are planning on travelling.
While some European Union countries continue to allow UK arrivals to enter in line with strict rules, others have banned UK arrivals without essential reason for travel.
The FCDO also warns of fines that travellers can face in some destinations if they do not follow rules.
What is the latest travel advice from the FCDO?
The FCDO states: “Public health measures to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 remain in force across Spain and may vary between regions.
“Handwashing hygiene, air ventilation rules and the use of face masks in enclosed public spaces and in some specific scenarios outdoors, must continue to be observed at all times.”
At the time of writing, Spain has not banned Britons from travelling to the country.
However, only fully vaccinated tourists are able to enter.
Unvaccinated entry must only be for “essential purposes”.
The FCDO warns: “You must show proof of being fully vaccinated (with both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a one-dose vaccine) at least 14 days prior to arrival in Spain.”
It adds: “You may get a minimum fine of €3,000 (£2,500) if you do not comply with the requirements.”
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France closed its borders to people travelling from the UK for business or tourism on Friday evening.
The FCDO states: “From Saturday, December 18, all those wishing to travel from the UK to France, regardless of vaccination status, can only do so for essential reasons, as defined by the French authorities.
“French nationals, as well as residents in France, are considered to have an essential reason for travel.”
Travellers who do have an “essential reason” to travel must present a negative PCR or antigen test result taken within 24 hours pre-departure.
They must also provide contact details of where they will be staying during their time in France.
The FCDO adds: “All travellers must present a completed international travel form to prove the reason for essential travel.”
A number of COVID-19 restrictions remain in place in France, including vaccine passports.
The FCDO states: “People aged 12 and over will need to demonstrate their COVID-19 status through the “pass sanitaire” in order to access services and venues.
“This includes leisure facilities (bars, restaurants, museums, cinemas), hospitals, retirement homes and modes of transport such as long-distance train and bus journeys and planes.”
COVID-19 restrictions are in place in Italy, including the mandatory use of masks in all outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible, and while indoors.
Mask rules are slightly different during the festive period.
The FCDO states: “You should pay close attention to signage when travelling and carry a mask with you at all times.
“Masks are mandatory at all times in yellow zones and in some town and city centres during the festive period.”
Social distancing of one metre must be observed and gatherings “should be avoided”.
Italy is also using “green passes” for public venues.
The FCDO states: “A ‘Green Pass’, also known as an EU digital COVID certificate, is needed to travel in Italy and to access hospitality and leisure venues.
“A Green Pass certifies full vaccination, recovery or negative test result. It is required for activities including indoor seating in bars and restaurants, museums, exhibitions, sporting events, fairs, civil or religious ceremonies and large events.”
Anyone found to have forged their green pass can face a fine of “up to €3,000 (approximately £2,500) or a prison sentence.”
Britons are still permitted to enter Italy at the time of writing.
The FCDO states: “If you travel from the UK and can demonstrate that you are fully vaccinated, you can enter Italy without needing to self-isolate.”
Travellers must fill in a passenger locator form before entering Italy and show evidence of a negative PCR test taken within the 48 hours before arrival or a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours before arrival.
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The Dutch Government has announced a “hard lockdown” from December 19 until 14 January 2022.
Currently, just two people from separate households are permitted to gather together outside.
This limit will be increased to a maximum of four people on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Eve.
Non-essential services such as clothing shops, hairdressers, as well as museums, the hospitality industry and indoor gyms are closed.
Essential services such as supermarkets and chemists must close at 8pm.
The FCDO states: “The Dutch authorities currently classify the UK as a ‘very high-risk country’. This means that fully vaccinated UK nationals, who can provide acceptable proof of vaccination, which includes the NHS COVID Pass, will be allowed to enter the Netherlands.”
Fully vaccinated travellers must also be able to show a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before departure or a negative antigen test taken no more than 24 hours before departure.
The FCDO adds: “From December 22, all travellers from the UK, irrespective of their vaccination status or possession of a negative test, must undergo 10 days’ home quarantine upon arrival.”
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