Mauritius has been taken off France’s new ‘scarlet red’ list – a new classification the country introduced over the weekend (December 4) and a step higher than its ‘red’ list category – but Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia remain on the list, which includes tightened restrictions for the affected countries.
“The Mauritian tourism family welcomes the decision by the French government to remove Mauritius from its list of destinations, just a few days after its classification as part of this list. We wish to thank the French Ambassador, Her Excellency Florence Caussé-Tissier, for her support,” said Nilen Vencadasmy, Chairman of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Agency; Jean-Michel Pitot, Chairman of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants in Mauritius; and Ken Arian, CEO of Airport Holdings Ltd, in a joint statement.
They noted that travel to Mauritius from France had resumed for people vaccinated with an EMA-approved vaccine (Pfizer/Comirnaty, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Vaxzeria/Covishield, and Janssen). Restrictions, however, apply to non-vaccinated travellers.
“Our priority remains the safety and security of our residents and visitors, so the rigorous arrival protocols related to COVID-19 remain in force. All visitors to Mauritius are required to be vaccinated, and to undergo PCR testing within 72 hours prior to travel, on arrival and in the days following,” the Mauritius tourism collective said.
While France lifted its travel ban on Saturday to allow the return of French nationals and those of the European Union, it simultaneously tightened them for all travellers arriving in France from a non-European country, as a precautionary measure pending data on the properties of the Omicron variant.
This, in essence, means that all travellers arriving from a non-European country, vaccinated or not, will have to provide a negative test at departure (antigen test of less than 24 hours or RT-PCR test of less than 48 hours).
A communiqué from the French government notes that the measure will be reassessed in the light of scientific information on the reality of the threat posed by the Omicron variant.
In addition to the new testing obligation, the conditions set for travel between France and countries classified as orange or red, in particular with regard to the compelling reasons to be justified for travel, are maintained.
The following rules apply to all travellers on the ‘scarlet red’ list of countries:
· Obligation at departure of an antigen test of less than 24 hours or an RT-PCR test of less than 48 hours for all travellers, regardless of their vaccination status;
· Travel to France from these countries is subject to the presentation of a strict compelling reason: French nationals, European nationals or foreigners with their main residence in France will be able to land in France. However, access will not be allowed for professional, tourist, study or research purposes;
· Systematic tests will be carried out on arrival from these countries and all travellers (vaccinated or unvaccinated) must quarantine for 10 days. Those who test positive must quarantine in a place chosen by the authorities, and 10 days in a place of their choice for people who test negative.
‘No plans to lift travel restrictions’
Despite global news reports that the European Union was set to discuss the possible lifting of travel bans against southern African countries at its meeting yesterday, this did not materialise.
Reuters news agency cited a senior EU official as saying: “We are not yet working in that direction.”