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EU leaders discuss UK Covid-19 travel ban

French nationals and residents currently stuck in the UK because of the current Covid-19 travel ban 'will be able to return home' for Christmas, government spokesman Gabriel Attal has said

The European Council was expected to meet at 11h (10h GMT) on Monday to iron out a co-ordinated EU-wide response to the UK variant of the coronavirus which has prompted numerous countries - including France -to ban travel from the UK. An announcement outlining the council's decisions is expected some time on Monday afternoon.

Announcing France's 48-hour travel ban, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said "These 48 hours will help us build a system that will protect our country and allow French people in the UK to be able to reunited with their families here for the holidays. I'm telling them: 'Get a PCR test as soon as you can'."

As reported, a PCR or antigen test is expected to be demanded of anyone coming to France from the UK when travel is allowed to resume. 

The speed at which governments have stopped travellers from the UK from entering their countries demonstrates the concern at the virulence of the mutation. Although it is currently believed to be no more deadly than other strains of the coronavirus, the speed and ease at which it spreads has prompted fears that it could overload already-strained healthcare systems.

Also on Monday, the EU's medicines regulator was expected to recommend approving the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use in all 27 states. The vaccine is already being rolled out in the UK and US.

If the regulator gives the green light, approval from the European Commission is expected to follow as early as Wednesday and vaccine distribution could start in some EU states on Sunday.

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