French officials have confirmed that all non-essential travel from the United Kingdom will be prohibited beginning at 00:00 on Saturday.

The action comes as the UK experiences a surge in Covid-19 cases, with the Omicron variant rapidly spreading.

“People cannot travel for touristic or professional reasons,” the office of French Prime Minister Jean Castex said in a statement.

“Faced with the extremely rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK, the government has chosen to reinstate the need for an essential reason for travel from and to the UK.”

According to the statement, French citizens and European Union nationals can still return to France from the United Kingdom.

Returning travellers will need a negative test that is less than 24 hours old, and a blanket quarantine will be imposed upon their arrival in France.

On Wednesday, the United Kingdom registered a new high of 78,610 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases, with scientists forecasting substantially higher rates as Omicron spreads considerably quicker than the currently dominant Delta variant.

The travel restrictions come as a result of what analysts perceive as a breakdown in trust between the British and French administrations in the aftermath of Brexit, with disagreements ranging from migrants to fishing.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA’s CEO, stated: “Reports that France is to introduce a temporary ban on most travel from the UK will come as a hammer blow to the winter travel industry, which is already under extreme pressure following the new Omicron restrictions.

“The winter sports and school travel markets are particularly exposed, and the government must now bring forward a support package if we are not to see company failures and job losses.”

He added, “The travel and tourism sector has had little chance to generate income since early 2020 and is now faced with another wave of cancellations.”

– India’s new age travel digital media


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