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France allows visitors with Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine

The move comes after a global outcry over the fact that the European Union’s COVID-19 certificate only recognizes AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Europe.

Visitors enjoy the view from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Friday, July 16, 2021. (AP Photo)

France will allow international travelers who have had AstraZeneca’s Indian-manufactured vaccine into the country starting Sunday.

At the same time, France is tightening border checks to control the spread of the delta variant and protect hospitals, according to a statement from the prime minister Saturday.

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 recognizes AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Europe.

Several other EU countries already accept the Indian version, which is notably used in the U.K. 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 authorized by the EU drug regulator: those made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson&Johnson and AstraZeneca.

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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 travelers 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.

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As infections climb anew, French President Emmanuel Macron this week ordered all health workers to get vaccinated by Sept. 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.

The measures have prompted record numbers of people to sign up for vaccinations — but have also prompted anger among some groups, and protests are planned in various French cities Saturday against them.

First published on: 17-07-2021 at 17:51 IST
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