France eases travel rules for seven countries, including Israel

France eases travel restrictions for seven countries outside the European Union, including Israel, saying trips to and from them will no longer need to be justified by essential reasons.

The French government had from January 31 banned all travel outside the EU without a valid excuse to limit the spread of COVID-19 variants in the pandemic.

But due to the changing situation, “it will no longer be necessary to prove a compelling reason for travel to or from Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom,” the foreign ministry says in a statement.

The measure had been adopted in large part to limit the spread of the more infectious variant of COVID-19 that first emerged in England. But the variant is now accounting for well over half of the number of new infections in France.

Illustrative: An Air France plane lands at the International O.R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020 (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)