France set to ease UK travel ban over new Covid strain

France set to ease UK travel ban over new coronavirus strain

France set its ban late Sunday for 48 hours pending a pan-EU policy

Travellers Arrive at terminal 4 at JFK International airport in New York. Credit: AFP Photo

France will relax a temporary UK travel ban introduced after a new variant of coronavirus emerged, the prime minister's office said on Tuesday.

EU nationals and residents of EU countries will be allowed to enter from Wednesday providing they can show a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours old.

The tests must be of a type capable of detecting the new variant that emerged in Britain, the office said in a statement.

People who "must carry out essential travel" will also be allowed into the country, it said.

The European Commission has urged EU countries to lift travel bans imposed on Britain, where the spread of the new coronavirus variant has spurred global panic just as vaccines are being rolled out worldwide.

Sunday's statement said "specific modalities for the resumption of goods traffic by road will be announced in the coming hours".

France's temporary ban on hauliers caused concern that the UK could face shortages of some fresh food products over a Christmas period already dampened by strict coronavirus restrictions.