Any hope of a Christmas holiday seems well and truly lost for Britons amid the latest swathe of coronavirus chaos. Prime Minister Boris Johnson sparked panic last week with the revelation the UK had detected a new COVID-19 strain which is 70 percent more transmittable.
Following the announcement of the new strain, France closed its borders to all arrivals from the UK including those delivering goods across the channel.
As a result, there have been major backlogs at port crossings, with truckers stranded in their cabs for days.
Now, the nation has reopened its borders after striking a new testing deal with the Prime Minister.
Only UK arrivals who are travelling for specific “essential reasons” as set out by the French government will be permitted entry.
The FCDO explains: “France restricted travel from the UK from 24:00 on 20 December.
“This travel restriction applies to air, car, ferry and train passengers. From 24:00 on 22 December, until at least 6 January (subject to a possible review), only the following categories of people will be authorised to travel to France from the UK:
“French nationals and nationals of the European Area
“British and/or third-country nationals who are either permanently resident in France, the European Union or the European Area, or who must travel for certain essential reasons (as specified by the French government).”
It adds: “All travellers from the UK, including children aged 11 and above, will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure.”
France is also no longer on the UK travel corridor list which means anyone who needs to travel for essential reasons will be subject to 10 days of quarantine upon their return.
“If you were due to travel to France please contact your travel operator,” advises the FCDO.
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Spain has similarly shut its borders to UK arrivals until January.
“Spain have announced they will be restricting passenger travel from the UK (by air and sea) from 6pm on 22 December until 6pm on 5 January, with the exception of Spanish nationals and those legally resident in Spain. This includes flights from the UK to the Balearic Islands and Canary Island,” explains the FCDO.
Any Briton who legally resides in Spain must carry a “residence document” which can be either a green paper EU residence certificate or the new TIE.
“If you have applied but not yet received your document, carry proof you have started the registration process,” states the FCDO.
“Padron certificates, utility bills and property deeds will not be accepted by Spanish authorities as proof of residency.”
Germany has extended its ban on UK arrivals until January 6.
During this period, transport operators are banned from offering plane, bus, ferry and train journeys from the UK to Germany.
From 1 January 2021, transport operators can apply to the German authorities for an exemption to transport individuals who are resident in Germany.
“Travellers arriving in Germany who have been in the UK in the preceding 10 days will be required to provide their local public health authority with a negative coronavirus test result,” explains the FCDO.
“The test result can be in either paper or electronic form and must be no older than 48 hours.
“You should attempt to be tested before travel, otherwise a test will be taken upon entering Germany.
“Even with a negative test, you will still then be required to self-isolate for 10 days following your arrival in Germany, with the possibility for test and release after five days.”
Any Britons who are returning from Germany will need to self-isolate upon their return.