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France suspends all flights to and from Brazil over Covid variant fears

France is suspending all flights to and from Brazil to curb the spread of a new Covid-19 variant found in the South American country, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Tuesday.

France suspends all flights to and from Brazil over Covid variant fears
Photo: Stephane du Sakatin/AFP

Experts say the Brazilian variant, known as P1, is particularly virulent and partly to blame for a sharp increase in the country’s coronavirus death toll in March.

“We have observed that the situation is worsening and that is why we have decided to suspend all flights between Brazil and France until further notice,” Castex told parliament.

The French overseas département of French Guiana shares a border with Brazil, causing concern to the government over the health situation.

France had previously imposed extra restrictions on travel between France and the UK when the ‘UK variant’ of the virus was first reported in December, but these have since been lifted and since the middle of March travel between the two countries has been allowed for any reason – although the British government still has travel restrictions in place.

France has more relaxed rules for seven non-EU countries, including the UK, Australia and New Zealand, but for the rest of non-EU countries, travel is allowed for essential reasons only.

The limits on who can travel means that transport is limited between these countries, but this is the first time that France has imposed a complete ban on flights.

For the full rules on travel into France from within the EU – click HERE.

And the full rules on non-EU travel – click HERE.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has defied expert advice on containing the pandemic, criticising lockdowns, face masks and vaccines.

But he faces mounting pressure to bring the situation under control amid a brutal new surge of the virus.

Brazil’s Covid infection rate is the highest in the world after the United States and India.

Member comments

  1. This is good in my view and has nothing to do with anything else but safety.

    Travel should have been locked down a year ago to stop (if not slow) the spread. Travelers returning home should have been isolated by the government at military bases rather than allowed to go home and infect families and friends.

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COVID-19

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body has outlined how Covid-19 rules will change on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules will relax in France as the country ends compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes will take effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 will return to normal on February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 will have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that will begin in February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.

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