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France eases rule for vaccinated travelers from South Africa

January 6, 2022 GMT
French Republican Guards stand wearing protective masks after the first weekly cabinet meeting of the year at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. An unprecedented number of coronavirus infections is once again exposing the underfunding and shortcomings of public health care systems, even in developed parts of Europe. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
French Republican Guards stand wearing protective masks after the first weekly cabinet meeting of the year at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. An unprecedented number of coronavirus infections is once again exposing the underfunding and shortcomings of public health care systems, even in developed parts of Europe. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
French Republican Guards stand wearing protective masks after the first weekly cabinet meeting of the year at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. An unprecedented number of coronavirus infections is once again exposing the underfunding and shortcomings of public health care systems, even in developed parts of Europe. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
French Republican Guards stand wearing protective masks after the first weekly cabinet meeting of the year at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. An unprecedented number of coronavirus infections is once again exposing the underfunding and shortcomings of public health care systems, even in developed parts of Europe. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
French Republican Guards stand wearing protective masks after the first weekly cabinet meeting of the year at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. An unprecedented number of coronavirus infections is once again exposing the underfunding and shortcomings of public health care systems, even in developed parts of Europe. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

PARIS (AP) — France is allowing vaccinated travelers from South Africa to enter its territory without having to observe a coronavirus quarantine.

The French government published a decree Thursday that removed South Africa from the list of places subject to highly restricted travel rules.

Unvaccinated people coming from South Africa still must quarantine in France for 10 days under supervision from local authorities.

France almost completely banned travel to and from South Africa after the first COVID-19 cases involving the omicron variant were detected in South Africa in November.

The highly contagious variant has since spread around the world, causing record daily cases in the United States and parts of Europe.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday that omicron is now estimated to represent 70% to 80% of all infections in France.

France, which has one of Europe’s most-vaccinated populations, reported more than 332,000 new virus cases on Wednesday. The number set a European record for the highest single-day national count of confirmed cases.

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