PCR test required for European travelers: still unclear on the road and the train

While a third confinement no longer seems to be excluded, France is barricading itself a little more to stop the spread of Covid-19 and its variants. From this Saturday January 23 at midnight, the authorities will require the presentation of a negative PCR test carried out less than 72 hours before their departure to all travelers from other countries of the European Union wishing to enter French territory. by plane or by boat, announced the Elysee late Thursday evening. A similar rule has already been in effect since Monday, January 18 for travelers arriving from countries outside the EU.

“It is one tool among others in the fight against the virus”, but not “a miracle tool”, warned this Friday on Europe 1 the Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune. France was one of the last large countries in the European Union not to have decided on access restrictions for Europeans, with Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece or Portugal having jumped not in recent days.

“In the process of setting”

But a few hours before the entry into force of the measure, a certain vagueness remained this Friday evening on the fate of motorists (in particular 350,000 cross-border workers), truck drivers and train users. While an interministerial meeting had been held since the end of the afternoon to fix the precise details of the implementing decree to be published this Saturday, the Ministry of the Interior specified in the evening that the modalities concerning land transport and the railway were still “being stalled”. “It is indeed not yet refereed”, we confirmed in the wake of Matignon.

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Until this Friday afternoon, the executive assured that motorists and truckers would not be affected by the mandatory PCR tests at the borders. “Truck drivers and cross-border workers will be exempted, because we want to continue to ensure that deliveries are made and that cross-border workers can work,” said the State Secretariat for European Affairs. “We must take into account the economic and social reality”, still insisted at 7 pm this Friday evening, Clément Beaune on BFMTV, recalling that “the trucks bring food, medicines and even vaccines that come from Belgium”.

Its Secretary of State also assured that European travelers subjected to the presentation of a PCR test in ports and airports would undoubtedly not be invited to observe a quarantine of seven days followed by a second test, contrary to what has been requested since Monday, via a declaration on honor, from non-European travelers. In any case at this stage. “This point will be reassessed depending on the health situation,” said a counselor.

Several details pending

Other important details were still pending this Friday evening, such as the age from which the measure will apply (children of travelers outside the European Union are not subject to it before 11 years), the precise definition of “travel essential ”which will be exempted from the obligation of tests or the procedures for checking travelers in ports and airports. “It is a very complicated measure to set to music,” a ministerial adviser admitted this Friday.

However, the executive has been reflecting for several days on this subject, put on the table Wednesday during the Defense Council at the Elysee Palace. But anxious not to move forward alone, President Emmanuel Macron wanted to obtain a consensus at the European summit by videoconference on Thursday which brought together the twenty-seven heads of state or government of the European Union.

If no joint decision has finally been taken, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday evening alerted member countries to “the very serious health situation” caused by the pandemic on the continent, saying that “all trips non-essential (should) be strongly discouraged ”, while insisting that the Single Market should continue to function.

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