The U.K. said France could be removed from the ‘amber plus’ list next week.
France is currently on the U.K.’s amber plus list, which means U.K.-based visitors returning from France must spend 10 days in self-isolation and take two PCR tests, even if they are vaccinated. If France is taken off that list, people who have received the full coronavirus vaccine dose will no longer have to quarantine.
Government officials said the Beta variant has been contained in France, which is why the restriction could be lifted. In the last week, 3.7% of coronavirus cases in France were of the Beta variety.
Other countries could move in the opposite direction. Spain and Greece, for example, are in danger of being moved to the amber plus list next week. In Spain, 6.9% of covid cases are the Beta variant.
The U.K. uses a “traffic light” system to control travel. There is a green list, an amber list, an amber plus list, and a red list. Red is a no-go, amber has some restrictions, amber plus includes a quarantine, and green means freedom to travel.
About 55% of the U.K.’s population is fully vaccinated, including nearly 70% of the adult population. Rates are leveling off with the older age group, but still increasing in those in their teens, 20s and 30s. About 44% of France’s population is fully vaccinated. That number is rising after a slow rollout.
Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said proof of a negative covid test or proof of vaccination would be required to visit restaurants, museums, shopping malls, long-distance transportation, and more. Over the last 18 months, France has endured three national lockdowns, a shutdown of all non-essential businesses, and curfews, among other restrictions. Proof of vaccination or a negative test is meant to help the country reopen safely.
France also announced mandatory vaccines for healthcare workers. All workers must be vaccinated by September 15, or they will not be able to go to work and will not be paid. Speaking in a televised address, Macron said he wanted to “put restrictions on the unvaccinated rather than on everyone.” Finally, France said it would begin charging for some coronavirus tests to encourage vaccination rather than increased testing. Due to the spread of the Delta variant, France’s scientific council said in a report that the virus cannot be controlled unless 90-95% of people are vaccinated or infected.
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Rebecca Holland is a travel and food writer based in Chicago. She has written for the Guardian, New York Times, Architectural Digest, Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast and more. She is currently a graduate student at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. When not working, you can find her eating her way through Chicago's neighborhoods, or in non-pandemic times, traveling around the world.
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