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How many Omicron cases there are and rules explained as UK travel ban announced

France is stopping British tourists from visiting the country under strict new Covid restrictions following a surge of Omicron cases in the UK.

From Saturday, anyone wanting to travel to and from the UK without “compelling reasons” will be banned.

But why has this been implemented? here’s everything you need to know.

What are the entry requirements for those who are allowed in?

All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, must take a PCR test 24 hours before departure (a change from the current 48 hour rule).

Upon arrival. they must also quarantine for 48 hours or until they have received a negative result from a mandatory arrival test.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told BFM television: “We will put in place a system of controls drastically tighter than the one we have today.

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“We will reduce the validity of the test to come to France from 48 hours to 24 hours.

“We will limit the reasons for coming to France from the UK, it will be limited to French nationals and residents and their families.

“Tourism or business trips for people who do not have French or European nationality or are residents will be limited.”

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said hauliers will not be affected.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “Blanket country measures are a damaging backwards step and never work.

“Omicron is already in France and other EU countries. Why should the millions boosted be treated the same way as those unvaccinated, and prevented from entry?”

When do the new restrictions start?

The restrictions will come into force from Saturday 18 December.

Tourism and business are not included in the “compelling reasons” needed to enter France, Paris says.

French nationals and their spouses are exempt from the new rules as well as British expats who live in France.

Anyone with plans to travel to the UK from France is being asked to delay them.

What are the case numbers in the UK?

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said on Wednesday that the number of Omicron cases that Britain should expect to see in the coming days will be “staggering”.

Another 78,610 Covid cases were recorded in the UK on Wednesday – the highest daily number since the start of the pandemic.

A total of 404,869 have tested positive in the past seven days, a 65 per cent increase on the previous seven.

In total more than 10,000 cases have been confirmed to be Omicron, and in London as many as 50 per cent of all Covid cases are the Omicron variant.

Reuters says the UK’s infection rate is 597 infections per 100K people reported last 7 days.

Professor Chris Whitty has described Omicron as spreading at an “absolutely phenomenal pace”.

What are the case numbers in France?

According to Reuters, France reported  65,713 new Covid cases on Wednesday, its highest for 13 months.

France’s infection rate is 516 infections per 100K people reported last 7 days.



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