New Delhi: Here’s a piece of good news for all the international travellers and students. France will now allow international travellers who have had AstraZeneca’s Indian-manufactured vaccine into the country starting Sunday.Also Read - Bombay HC Issues Notice To Bill Gates, Serum Institute, DGCI, Others Over Plea On Alleged 'Vaccine Death'
At the same time, France is tightening border checks to control the spread of the delta variant and protect hospitals, the Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Saturday. Also Read - Amitabh Bachchan Tests COVID Positive, Asks Contacts To Get Checked
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The move to accept visitors vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s vaccine made by India’s Serum Institute came after a global outcry over the fact that the European Union’s Covid-19 certificate only recognises AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Europe. Also Read - Fully Vaccinated Adults Can Take Corbevax as Booster Shot 6 Months After Second Dose, Centre Issues Guidelines
Several other EU countries already accept the Indian version, which is notably used in the UK and around Africa. The varied rules from each country have further complicated this summer’s travel season. France still doesn’t recognize vaccinations by Chinese or Russian vaccines, only those authorised by the EU drug regulator: those made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson&Johnson and AstraZeneca.
Countries in Europe That Recognise Covishield Vaccine For Travel
Other than France, the India-made Covishield vaccine is already approved by Belgium, Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, Greece, Finland, Hungary, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Slovenia. In addition, Iceland and Switzerland have also given a nod to visitors vaccinated with Covishield vaccine. However, a number of countries, including Italy, Croatia and Norway have still not approved Covishield.
Those Who Aren’t Fully Vaccinated?
Starting Sunday, France will also start requiring anyone who isn’t vaccinated arriving from Britain, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Greece or Cyprus to present a negative test less than 24 hours old to cross French borders.
Tunisia, Indonesia, Cuba and Mozambique have now been added to France’s “red list” of countries with high virus risk, according to Saturday’s statement. However, France will now accept travellers from any red list countries if they are fully vaccinated.
France also shortened the time frame for when a person is considered fully vaccinated after the second dose, to one week instead of two.
As infections climb anew, French President Emmanuel Macron this week ordered all health workers to get vaccinated by September 15 and announced that special Covid-19 passes will be required in all restaurants, bars, hospitals, shopping malls, trains, and planes. To get a pass, people must be fully vaccinated, have recently recovered from the virus, or have a fresh negative virus test.
Notably, the measures have now prompted record numbers of people to sign up for vaccinations.
After falling from more than 42,000 per day in mid-April to less than 2,000 per day in late June, the average number of new Covid infections in France has crept up quickly again, standing now at nearly 11,000 per day. As such, all non-essential travel is highly unadvisable currently.
(With AP inputs)