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France tightens travel restrictions for UK, Spain and Portugal over delta variant fears

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In a live TV appearance on Monday, French president Emmanuel Macron announced a package of measures aimed at controlling a delta-driven fourth wave of Covid in France.

On the subject of travel restrictions he said: “From this week, controls at our borders will be strengthened for those coming from high-risk countries, with strict isolation for unvaccinated travellers” – but offered no further details.

However, some clarification was later published by France’s Europe minister Clément Beaune on Twitter.

It appears that France is keeping in place its traffic light system, but imposing extra restrictions on three countries.

READ ALSO How France’s traffic light travel system works

He announced a “reinforced regime” for travellers from the UK who are not fully vaccinated – a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours of travel, in addition to having compelling reasons for travel. This is a change from the existing regime which requires a test taken within 72 hours of travel.

Existing traffic light restrictions remain in place.

This means the new rules from the UK are;

Fully vaccinated travellers – can travel to France for any reason, do not have to quarantine on arrival but do need a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of travel. Travellers from the UK who had AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine do not count as ‘fully vaccinated’ under French rules.

Unvaccinated travellers – can only travel to France for essential reasons (which includes French citizens and residents returning home), must quarantine for seven days on arrival and need a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours of travel. Find the full list of accepted reasons for travel HERE.

READ ALSO Can families with unvaccinated children travel to France?

Spain and Portugal are both on France’s green list, along with the rest of the EU and Schegen zone, but testing has also been tightened up for non-vaccinated travellers who now require a negative test taken within 24 hours of travel, not 72 hours as previously.

This means the new rules for Spain and Portugal are;

Fully vaccinated travellers – can travel for any reason, do not need to quarantine or present a negative Covid test.

Unvaccinated travellers – can travel for any reason and do not need to quarantine, but must show a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours of travel.

Tests are required for all travellers aged over 11.

All entrants to France need to present a declaration that they are in good health – you can find the declaration HERE.

In travel terms, fully vaccinated is defined as someone who has received a vaccine approved by the EMA – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (but not Covishield) or Johnson & Johnson – and is two weeks after their second dose, or four weeks after the injection if they received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson injection (which is known in France as Janssen).

The start date for the new rules was given only as “from this week”.

We will update this story when we get more detail.



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Germany’s flood zones spared severe storms on Saturday

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In the west of the country, the fire brigade reported a quiet night in the flood areas in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine Westphalia.

The situation remains tense, however, with local thunderstorms forecast in some parts of Germany from midday on Sunday — most likely south of the Danube.

Further heavy rain and hail were also possible again, according to the German Weather Service (DWD), which publishes storm warnings.

READ ALSO: WEATHER: German flood zones at risk of further storms

The latest storms came just days after parts of the country were hit by devastating floods after torrential rains that ravaged entire villages and left 180 people dead, hundreds injured and with many still missing.

The flooding also caused damage in Belgium, where 37 people died, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.



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Prosecutors allege R Kelly had sexual contact with under-age boy

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US prosecutors in R Kelly’s sex trafficking case say he had sexual contact with an under-age boy in addition to girls, and the government wants jurors in his upcoming sex-trafficking trial to hear those claims.

Federal prosecutors aired a wide-ranging raft of additional allegations – but not new charges – against the R&B singer in a court filing on Friday.

Jury selection is due to start August 9th in a New York federal court for Kelly, who denies ever abusing anyone.

The Grammy Award-winning singer is charged with leading what prosecutors call a criminal enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who allegedly helped him to recruit women and girls for sex and pornography and to exercise control over them.

The charges involve six different women and girls, who are not named in court filings.

Now, prosecutors would also like jurors to hear about more than a dozen other people whom the government alleges that Kelly sexually or physically abused, threatened or otherwise mistreated.

Among them, the government says, was a 17-year-old boy and aspiring musician whom Kelly met at a McDonald’s in December 2006 and later invited to his Chicago studio.

According to the prosecutors’ court filing, after asking the boy what he would do to make it in the music business, Kelly propositioned and had sexual contact with him while he was still under-age.

And when Kelly was about to go on trial on child pornography charges in Chicago in 2008, the same youth told the singer he had access to a juror, and Kelly asked him to contact the juror and vouch he was a “good guy”, prosecutors wrote.

The filing does not say whether the youth did so. Kelly was acquitted in that case.

The boy also introduced Kelly to a 16- or 17-year-old male friend, with whom prosecutors say the singer began a sexual relationship several years later.

Kelly also filmed the two youths in sexual encounters with other people, including some of Kelly’s girlfriends, according to the filing.

Prosecutors wrote that the accounts of the boys and others would help show that the actual charges “were not isolated events and were part of a larger pattern”.

The multiplatinum-selling singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is known for work including the 1996 hit I Believe I Can Fly and the cult classic Trapped In The Closet, a multi-part tale of sexual betrayal and intrigue.

Kelly’s private life has drawn scrutiny since the 1990s, and he currently is also facing sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. He has pleaded not guilty.– AP

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Fears mount in western Germany as fresh rain falls

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For some areas, the German Weather Service has forecast heavy showers or storms, bringing between 30 and 40 litres per square metre.

Amid further rainfall on Saturday afternoon, evacuation services to emergency accommodation were offered to communities in Rheinland-Palatinate who had been particularly badly affected by the flooding, German news site Merkur reported.

“The people will have to make the decision themselves,” said Begona Hermann, head of the relief teams in the west German state, explaining that the forecast rainfall was not expected to be as severe as that which devastated parts of Germany last week.  

READ ALSO: German floods death toll hits 180, with 150 still missing

However, even lower levels of rainfall could still be a problem because sewage and drainage systems were not working properly because of the flooding.

Earlier on Saturday, police requested all volunteers working on the clean-up operation in the Ahr area to leave as quickly as possible for their own safety because of the difficult conditions.

This came after the police and the crisis management team asked the public not to travel to Rhineland-Palatinate to help out because there were too many people there.

“The population’s willingness to help continues to be undiminished and overwhelming,” read a Kassel police statement on Saturday. Due to the large number of volunteers who came to help out, however, roads in the area are now congested, it said.

Heavy machinery required for road and bridge construction, and for the restoration of the area’s water supply, was getting stuck in traffic jams, the press release said.

Vehicles for removing rubbish and construction debris, as well as emergency and rescue vehicles, were also unable to get through.



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