France imposes travel ban on UK - here's what you need to know about the new rules

France is going to tighten restrictions on UK travelers with a ban on non-essential travel from Saturday, with exemptions for French and EU citizens.

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading at an unprecedented rate in the UK. The UK recorded its highest number of new coronaviruses cases since the beginning of the Pandemic. France is limiting travel from the UK in response to the crisis and fears that its public health system could soon be overwhelmed.

There will be a ban on non-essential travel from the UK from midnight on Saturday, December 18. Only returning French or EU citizens and their families will be allowed to cross the border from the UK, but they will have to present a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of departure.

Returning French and EU citizens are exempt from the ban.

If you are from the UK and wish to travel to France, you must be tested for COVID-19 within 24 hours of departure and again when you arrive. If they can produce a negative test result, they must self-isolated for at least 48 hours.

If a negative test is carried out in France, people returning to France will have to register on an app and self-isolated for seven days, but this can be shortened to 48 hours.

Arrival details must be registered through the digital app, but no further information has been provided. When more information is available, we will update this article.

The travel ban does not apply to those traveling in the opposite direction. If you wish to travel to the UK from France, you will need to take either a negative or positive test, and you will have to take a test within 48 hours of arriving in the UK. The test must be booked in advance.

The British government said that the UK would face a tidal wave of new Omicron-driven infections in the coming days, and that people cannot travel for tourism or professional reasons from Saturday.

"As the Omicron variant spreads extremely quickly in the United Kingdom, the French government has decided to re-implement compelling reasons for travels from and to the United Kingdom, and to reinforce mandatory tests at departures and arrivals," it said.

French citizens were asked to delay their UK travel plans.