Due to the detection of a new worrying COVID-19 variant, the French Government has decided to suspend arrivals from seven southern African countries.
According to a press release that has been issued today, November 26, by the French Prime Minister Jean Castex, travellers from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini will no longer be permitted to enter France for a minimum period of 48 hours.
Nonetheless, the entry ban might get extended if the situation requires it.
In addition, the same has announced that the entry ban will apply to everyone, even to those who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from the COVID-19 disease, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“The B1.1.259 variant, detected in several southern African countries including South Africa, presents several mutations with uncertain effects. If no case has been detected to date on French territory, the principle of maximum precaution must apply,” the statement of Jean Castex reads.
Through the same press release, it has been announced that persons who have travelled to one of these seven southern African countries in the last 14 days should inform the authorities of their journey and undergo a PCR or rapid antigen test as soon as possible.
In order to avoid any further spread of the virus, the French Government has called on everyone who had planned to visit one of these countries to postpone their trip until the epidemiological situation improves.
Apart from these measures, Castex has emphasised that the French authorities will hold discussions with European partners during the day in order to establish a coherent framework at the EU level.
The data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that out of all these seven countries, South Africa has registered the highest infection rates. Only during the last seven days, South Africa has reported 23,121 new infection cases.
During the same seven-day period, Botswana has reported 523 new cases, followed by Mozambique with 46 new cases, Zimbabwe with 190 new cases, Namibia with 57 new cases, Eswatini with 22 new cases, and Lesotho with 16 new cases.
France currently requires all persons who are permitted entry to the country to hold one of the certificates that fall under the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate. Travellers from countries whose certificate has not been connected to the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate system have been required to convert their pass.
In addition, while in France, everyone must present a vaccination or recovery certificate in order to be allowed access to certain indoor spaces and activities, as the Health Pass requirement has been extended until mid-2022.