Unvaccinated travelers from the U.S. will be required to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival in France after French officials added the United States to its coronavirus “red list,” Reuters reported.
Vaccinated travelers still need to provide proof that they have tested negative against COVID-19 before traveling to the country, the news service noted.
The development comes as the United States has been reporting record numbers of daily infections driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant, higher than those seen last winter. The United States reported over 486,000 new cases last Wednesday, for example, and over 439,000 the day prior, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last winter, COVID-19 cases reached highs of approximately 300,000 new infections.
France has also been grappling with a spike in cases, reporting over 174,000 cases last Wednesday, according to data from the World Health Organization. For the last four days, France has reported 200,000 daily cases, Reuters noted.
Afghanistan, Serbia, Russia, and Belarus have also been added to France’s “red list”, according to the news service.
Initial research and data suggest that while the omicron variant is very transmissible, it may not be as severe as health officials initially worried.
President Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, said during a White House briefing last week that the omicron variant is less severe than delta among people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We know now, incontrovertibly, that this is a highly, highly transmissible virus. We know that from the numbers we’re seeing,” Fauci said, adding “all indications point to a lesser severity of omicron versus delta.”