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French COVID regulation change impacts Six Nations

By Paul Smith
(Photo by Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

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Ahead of their Six Nations visits to Paris England, Ireland and Italy’s players and spectators have been confronted with a significant change to France’s COVID regulations.

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According to television news outlet Euronews, from January 24 all visitors to France will be required to hold a vaccine passport before being allowed entry to the country.

Following the lengthy saga surrounding Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic’s will-they, won’t-they entry to Australia the French Government has ensured no such doubt surrounds the Six Nations.

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French lawmakers last night approved the law upgrading the country’s COVID health pass requirement into a vaccine pass.

This means only vaccinated people, or people who have recently recovered from the disease, will be able to visit bars, restaurants, culture and leisure venues, large fairs or use long-distance domestic public transport when previously a negative COVID-19 test also granted access.

Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu Tweeted: “As soon as the law is promulgated, it [the vaccine pass] will become compulsory to enter Establishments Receiving Public already subject to the health pass (stadium, theatre or exhibition) for all spectators, athletes, French or foreign professionals.”

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On a general basis France currently allows unvaccinated foreigners to enter although rules differ from country to country depending on their specific epidemiological situation.

Some travellers are therefore required to justify a “compelling” reason for their visit and adhere to a strict 10-day quarantine upon arrival.

All non-EU travellers, regardless of their vaccination status, must also present a negative test.

This change in regulations poses a potential problem for anyone that is currently unvaccinated due to the timelag involved in completing the process.

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The RFU previously confirmed that England’s players and staff meet their 85 per cent vaccination target since when Premiership Rugby has stated that 97 per cent of the league’s 1260 players and staff are now vaccinated.

Centre Henry Slade – who suffers from diabetes – last year backtracked on an initial statement that he would not take a vaccine, while continuing to express his wariness over possible adverse effects.

According to the IRFU Ireland have a 99.2 per cent uptake of COVID vaccinations across professional players while the situation in Italian professional rugby has not been confirmed.

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