Covid: Doctors of the World condemn charged tests to foreign tourists

Published by Cécile D., Rizhlaine F. · Photos by Cécile D. · Published on 12 July 2021 at 17h46 · Updated on 14 July 2021 at 10h14
France is preparing to welcome tourists this summer amid the coronavirus epidemic. After announcing screen tests will be free for tourists this summer, the French government has changed their minds and wants to charged these tests to foreign travelers starting from July 7, 2021. A decision making the Doctors of the World organization angry.

This summer 2021 is going to be a real challenge. As the coronavirus epidemic keeps on spreading across the world, vaccination lets us think things may return to normal soon. In tourist countries, people are working hard to welcome foreign travelers while trying to prevent the epidemic from surging again, as well as worrying variants from spreading, such as the Delta variant - a current source of concerns.

France is expecting to take the challenge up. In addition to the implementation of a health pass – admitted by all EU countries – the country also plans to give extra doses of vaccines to the most tourist areas to make sure the injection pace can go on.

But that is not all, the French government also plans to mass test foreign tourists visiting France this summer. State Secretary for European Affairs Clément Beaune first announced screen tests will be free of charge for foreign tourists.

The executive eventually changed their minds: this Wednesday June 30, in an interview with Les EchosGabriel Attal said coronavirus tests will be "charged starting from July 7 to foreign tourists" coming to France. These tests will cost "€49 for PCR and €29 for antigenic", the government spokesman specified.

He says this is a "matter of reciprocity knowing these tests are charged in most countries for French traveling". The government wants to make foreign tourists pay because French tourists must pay for theirs when traveling abroad.

This governmental measure fails to win unanimous: the Doctors of the World organization condemns an "absurd" decision that goes "against public health and the access to tests for people in most precarious situations", they say in a tweet. The organization calls out Health Minister Olivier Véran reminding the health situation is severe and all tools to fight Covid-19 are necessary.

The health insurance reminds on their website that "administrative screening tests (compulsory to enter some States), and medical tests (onset symptoms) are taken in charge by the French health insurance when one must take an immediate tests". As a comparison, Spain charges €120 for a tests, and the United Kingdom €116. In Sweden, it gets even more expensive: test are charged €300.

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