Covid tests no longer free for foreign tourists

As the summer holidays begin, the French Health Secretary has released figures showing that over 34 million first injections and 25 million second injections have been administered.

Nevertheless, medical professionals are conducting, on average, 1 758 612 screening tests per week, all of which, until today, have been free of charge.

Indeed, the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, championed the free programme for all by highlighting the fact it would increase “the attractiveness of tourism” and ensure France remained “the world’s leading destination”.

However, just a few days before the high season got going, a government spokesperson has confirmed that, from today, Wednesday 7th July, foreign tourists will no longer have free access to tests. An antigenic test will cost 29€, a PCR test will cost 49€.

The U-turn was justified via the principle of reciprocity; the government recognises that French tourists are required to pay for the tests when travelling in other countries.

Olivier Véran, the French health minister, has suggested that tests undertaken without a prescription (ordonnance) by French citizens and residents may also lose its free of charge status in the future, but that a final decision has not yet been made.

This would cover “comfort tests”, taken to go to larger spectator events, or when you are not symptomatic/contact case but only once the vaccine has been made available to all those who are eligible.

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