France will require, from January 24 at midnight, a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours before departure for most European travelers wishing to enter its territory. This is what President Emmanuel Macron announced to the European Council, the Elysee Palace reported on January 21 evening.

This obligation will apply “excluding essential travel”, specified the Elysee: “Frontier workers and land transport will in particular be exempt”.

Paris had already decided on January 14 to subject travelers from a country outside the European Union (EU) to this rule. Cross-border workers and “essential” workers were already exempt.

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An “escalation” of measures in Europe

The Elysee said that the approach chosen by the Head of State was also that of “many of his European counterparts”.

In Stockholm, the European agency responsible for epidemics, for its part, invited Europeans to “prepare for a rapid escalation in the stringency of measures (to counter the virus) in the coming weeks in order to preserve healthcare capacities, thus than to speed up vaccination campaigns ”.

A “very serious health situation”

In France, where the death toll is now close to 72,000 deaths, the number of contaminations recorded again exceeded the figure of 20,000 on Thursday, and the specter of a third confinement seems to be looming.

Emmanuel Macron’s decision comes at the end of a videoconference summit of the 27 member states during which Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, sounded the alarm on “the very serious health situation” caused in all of Europe by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Judging that “all non-essential travel should be strongly discouraged”, the leader however said that it was “of the utmost importance to continue to make the single market work”, that is to say to continue to allow the “smooth transport of essential workers and goods across the borders” of EU countries.