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New French testing rules could delay transporting goods across the Channel further

File Photo: Orange And Green Lanes For Entry Into France And The Eu Are Seen On The Road As New Customs Infrastructure For Brexit At Eurotunnel Terminal In Coquelles
FILE PHOTO: Orange and green lanes for entry into France and the EU are seen on the road as new customs infrastructure for Brexit at Eurotunnel terminal in Coquelles, near Calais, France, December 31, 2020. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

France has announced that people travelling from non-EU countries will no longer be able to get into the country by presenting a negative result from a quick, readily-available COVID-19 test.

The new rules, which come into force from Jan. 18 and are set out in a French government document, say people will no longer be able to use antigen, or lateral flow, tests that can deliver results within minutes.

Those quicker tests have been heavily used by truck drivers transporting goods across the Channel between Britain and France.

For the past several weeks, France has been requiring people who enter France from Britain to prove they don’t have COVID-19.

It was not immediately clear what impact the new testing rules would have on cross-Channel goods transport, which has already been affected by Britain’s departure from the European Union.

British Transport Minister Grant Shapps said on Friday that hauliers could use the lateral flow tests. There was no mention of an exception for truckers in French government guidance published to date.

If lateral flow or antigen tests are not accepted, travellers will have to seek PCR tests.

They can take several days to produce the results, and are less widely available in Britain for people who don’t have a medical justification for getting tested.

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