Paris tests air travellers from high-risk spots

Passengers queue to be tested for Covid-19 on arrival at Charles de Gaulle airport in France, on July 31, 2020.
Passengers queue to be tested for Covid-19 on arrival at Charles de Gaulle airport in France, on July 31, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS • France's busiest airport has begun testing passengers for Covid-19 on arrival from high-risk countries, a move that could reduce the need for quarantine measures causing pain to the tourism industry across Europe.

Those landing at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris from one of 12 countries identified by the French government will be required to visit the testers who are working out of a makeshift space near the baggage reclaim area.

One worker will record their contact details, then direct them to a colleague who will insert a swab into their nasal passage to gather a sample for testing.

Travellers are then allowed to continue their journey. Test results will come through between 24 and 48 hours later, when travellers will be contacted by public health workers.

"The test (results) are not available immediately. We don't know if someone is positive or negative," Paris public hospital official Benjamin Paumier told Reuters at the airport last Friday.

"But the objective is to follow these people, especially those who are positive, to follow them up, and find out who they've been in contact with."

With fears around Europe of a second wave of the coronavirus epidemic, some governments have advised against travel to high-risk destinations, or told travellers they must quarantine themselves on their return.

Meanwhile in Greece, mask-wearing is now compulsory in all indoor public spaces and also in outdoor areas where proper social distancing cannot be observed, the authorities said last Friday. Rules for bars, beach bars, live-music venues, bar-restaurants, cafes and clubs where only seated clients will be allowed have also been tightened so as to avoid overcrowding.

In Berlin, thousands of demonstrators rallied yesterday to protest against measures imposed in Germany to stem the coronavirus pandemic, saying they violated people's rights and freedoms. Most people have respected measures that include wearing face masks in shops. But a vocal minority is chafing against the restrictions, saying they are crushing diversity of thought.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 02, 2020, with the headline 'Paris tests air travellers from high-risk spots'. Print Edition | Subscribe