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UK-France travel: ‘Mixed up’ Covid test messaging left us confused

Reader finds lack of clarity over who has to take the ‘day nine’ quarantine test

All travellers from the UK must fill in a form with their details on an online platform called éOS-Covid Pic: Luca Lorenzelli / Shutterstock

[Update December 30 at 08:05 - our reader was also visited by police on day seven after his arrival in France, but the authorities in question were satisfied upon seeing the negative result of his 48 hour test.]

Several readers have contacted us confused over ‘mixed messages’ surrounding France’s self-isolation rules for travellers returning to France from the UK. 

One also tells how he was further confused by the police who visited him to check that he was observing his obligatory self-quarantine correctly. 

Under France’s travel rules, people who are allowed to enter the country from the UK must quarantine for 10 days, although this period can be reduced if you provide a negative result from an antigen or PCR test taken at least 48 hours after arrival. 

All travellers from the UK must fill in a form with their details on an online platform called éOS-Covid, which generates a prefectural decree requiring them to complete the self-isolation period. 

Read more: UK-France travel: how do I get new test to shorten quarantine period?

The éOS-Covid website states that: “On the ninth day of the quarantine a PCR test is carried out to confirm the absence of infection” and to allow the individual to come out of isolation. 

However, this testing rule is not mentioned on the UK government or French consulate websites, although it is referenced on the French Interior Ministry website, which states that travellers must complete “a sworn statement to self-isolate for 10 days and take a virological screening test (PCR) after the isolation period.”

“What is not clear is if this test is also required even if you cleared quarantine after the 48 hour test,” said the reader, who moved to Pyrénées-Orientales last year and runs a software company from his home there.

He told The Connexion that he and his partner, who had been travelling with him, were visited by the police around 36 hours after they arrived back in France on December 22, to check that they were observing their quarantine correctly. 

“The police wanted ID, so we showed them our cartes de séjour,” our reader said. “That seemed to be all they needed to cross reference with their copy of the éOS-Covid form.

“They were reading/quoting from the éOS-Covid form and explained we needed to stay at home, they explained we could go out between 10:00 -12:00 to get essential supplies, but when it got to the ‘test to release’ option it got confusing. 

“I tried to clarify whether we were fully released from quarantine after the 48 hour test, but they seemed to keep referring back to the day nine PCR test. That left us confused.

“We did opt to take the 48-hour antigen test and both tested negative. The éOS form with the QR code stated that we should show it at the test centre, however they did not seem to know what to do with it.

“I had a look, but can’t find any way of registering my negative test with a website. I also had a look on the TousAntiCovid app and nothing there either.

“The only issue on this recent trip has been the éOS instructions, they seem ambiguous, or open to individual interpretation.”

The Connexion contacted the French consulate to ask whether the day nine test is required even for people who are released from quarantine after their 48 hour test. 

A spokeswoman told us that once a person has had a negative 48 hour test result they are free to leave quarantine and do not need to take a further test on day nine after their arrival in France. 

Therefore, if you are travelling to France and use éOS-Covid to generate your quarantine decree but then receive a negative test result after 48 hours, you can ignore the part of the decree which details the ninth day testing requirement. 

Related stories 

Confusion over English text on éOS-Covid form to enter France from UK

What counts as 'essential reasons' for UK-France travel?

UK-France travel: Can I stop overnight in France on way to quarantine?

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