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France to Allow Limited Flights from Africa

A health care worker performs a COVID-19 test on a traveller at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Nov. 27, 2021, after several countries banned flights from South Africa following the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron.

(AP) France is to allow flights from southern Africa to resume, but primarily for returning French and European Union citizens, and under very strict conditions, the government said Wednesday.

Flights were suspended after the emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the move would take effect from Saturday.

But family visits, tourism and business travel still won’t be allowed, Attal said.

Only passengers who are returning home to France or who work as diplomats or for airlines will be permitted into the country, he said.

Under the rules taking effect Saturday, travelers departing from 10 countries, including South Africa and neighboring nations, Zambia and Mauritius, will need to get tested for the virus both before their flights and after arrival.

If the test is negative, they will be required to quarantine for 7 days. If the test is positive, they will be isolated at a hotel for 10 days, Attal said.

Attal also warned about increasing COVID-19 hospital admissions.

He said 160 people were being admitted to intensive care units with the virus every day.

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