Some news from France, CCCXXXI

I usually do this once a month or so, but things are changing and news sometimes gets clouded in various communiqués. One has to do with the virus of fame, and the other on travel plans for the future. The idea is to do as soon as possible, later will be more paperwork. Let me tell you the latest

The peak in France around the 6000 hospitalisation in intensive care in hospitals. Way back the Presi Macron wanted to reach 3000 but it seems this will not be achieve and the same goes for many who dare publish correct information. The improvement in the rate is only of 0,9% or hardly nothing. The contradiction on the vaccines are increasing even if in small percentage to the number of dosis; France had two deaths last month from Astra Zeneca vaccine. Last death was April 20 of a 75 years old from the Pfizer vaccine.

As of April 8, the French Medicines Agency had identified 25,641 cases of adverse side effects from the vaccine, a quarter of which were serious. By that time, 10.2 million French people had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Thus only 0.24% of people vaccinated experienced adverse effects and 0.06% experienced serious adverse effects. Looking at mortality, 405 people died after receiving an injection of Pfizer vaccine (out of 9.8 million doses injected on April 8) and seven after receiving Moderna vaccine (out of one million doses injected) . Concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is criticized because of suspected cases of thrombosis, 65 people died after an injection of the AstraZeneca vaccine, including 8 because of thrombosis (out of 2.7 million doses injected). The Agence Française du Médicaments webpage: https://ansm.sante.fr/actualites/vaccination-covid-19-des-outils-pour-sinformer-et-mieux-declarer-les-effets-indesirables

Therefore, until this trend settles down and I see more results we are holding on ,and wait more results and information from the government. Unless , of course, we are force to take it in order to be able to travel…….!

From May 3, 2021 therefore, the rules will evolve “gradually” with initially a freedom of movement found between the departments without the limit of kilometers or the compelling reasons that go with it. So far the areas, departments that are on stricter rules are the Hauts-de-France, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d´Azur (PACA) ,and Île-de-France where the most tension at the moment, with rates above 100%. The occupancy rate is nearly 80% in three other regions: Center-Val-de-Loire, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Grand-Est. The general government of France webpage with a map: https://www.gouvernement.fr/info-coronavirus/carte-et-donnees

Therefore, Bretagne is the least impacted but paying the same as everybody. The idea expose by some government folks is to gradually release the areas departments that are less impacted and so on. Will see as President Macron next public announcement is due for Wednesday May 5 2021. UPDATE earlier , rather than a new post will include this update here

Today Thursday evening, Pres Emmanuel Macron must unveil to the regional daily press all the stages that the deconfinement of France will follow. Already rumored in the press, they have been confirmed with BFMTV.  The executive has, however, provided a brake mechanism, which will block these reopening if the health situation does not allow them.

Stage 1: May 3

The curfew will be maintained as it is, at  19h (7pm). Teleworking will continue to be recommended. Middle school classes will reopen with a half-gauge for the 4th and 3rd, and high schools will reopen with a half-gauge. Inter-regional travel restrictions and travel certificates will be ended!!!!

Stage 2: May 19

The curfew will be moved to 21h (9 p.m) . Shops will reopen, in accordance with gauges and health protocols adapted to each place and activity. Restaurant terraces will reopen, with tables for a maximum of six people. Museums, monuments, cinemas, theaters, performance halls with a seated audience will be reopened, with gauges yet to be defined. Reopening of outdoor and indoor sports facilities for spectators.

Stage 3: June 9

Curfew shifted to 23h (11 p.m)  Reopening of cafes and restaurants, with tables for a maximum of six people, in accordance with gauges and protocols adapted to each place and activity. Reopening of sports halls and expansion of sports practice to outdoor contact sports and indoor contactless, in compliance with gauges and protocols adapted to each place and activity. Authorization of gatherings of less than 1000 people

Stage 4: June 30 This will be the end of the curfew.

The other item I like to touch base here is travel. We are all eagerly waiting to travel and long… However, paperwork is coming. First was the USA ESTA visa requirement or what they call it authorisation. All French as well as other European Union members needed to get one to travel there. Now the European Union worked on a scheme to return the favor. Slow down by the virus pandemia that was to start in 2021 now it has been push back to 2022, the ESTIAS visa authorisation. For guidance info, this is the ESTA rules from the US government: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/faq?lang=en

The European Union ETIAS comes from “European Travel Information and Authorization System”. It is a fully electronic system that tracks visitors from countries that do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area. In a way, it resembles the United States Electronic Travel Authorization System (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose.

Since citizens of countries that do not need a visa to spend up to 90 days in the EU, do not need to go through a long visa application process, the ETIAS system is ensure that these individuals do not pose a security threat. This travel authorization system will collect, track and update the necessary information about visitors to determine whether or not it is safe for them to enter Schengen member countries.

The main reason that led to the approval of the ETIAS authorization is safety. With the increased risk of travelers all over the world, the EU wants to ensure the safety of travel in its countries. The ETIAS system will significantly reduce security concerns through its information and data collection systems. What this means is that the ETIAS system will detect whether a person is a threat to the security of the Schengen countries. This will therefore lead to denying the person entry and preventing the threat from being present within the borders of the EU. It will just deal with the problem before it can even exist. However, in addition to making travel safer, the ETIAS authorization will also help EU countries and all travelers in the following ways: Reduced processing and application times; Improving border management in EU countries; Assistance in the detection and reduction of crime and terrorism; By preventing migrations contrary to the regulations, By strengthening the EU visa liberalization policy.

Overall, the ETIAS authorization will make travel within the EU less painful and safer.Some of the countries that will need an ESTIAS are  Australia, Canada, Brazil, Japan,  Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States of America. There are many others see the list on the webpage included on this post.

The ETIAS system is expected to cost only 7€ for each request. This is only valid for adults over 18, as people under 18 will not have to pay a fee. You can pay the charges by debit or credit card. Immediately after payment is completed, the ETIAS authorization will begin to be processed. If approved, the ETIAS application can be valid for 3 years or until your passport expires. If it isn’t, however, you’ll get a deny message. In the rejection message, you will have a written reason why the ETIAS request was refused. You can appeal this decision or depending on the reason for the denial, you can adjust your request and try again.

To use the ETIAS authorization correctly, you must first go through the first country indicated in your application. For example, if you intended to go through Germany, Belgium and Austria, and you indicated in your request that the first country you will visit is Germany, you must go through Germany before visiting Belgium and Austria. After entering the first country, you can visit any other country in the Schengen zone for 90 days. If you have a Schengen visa, you will not need an ETIAS authorization. You can present your visa to the border authorities when entering the Schengen zone countries. When your visa expires, you can apply for ETIAS authorization if you are eligible.

The official ESTIAS webpage: https://www.etiasvisa.com/

The European Commission (EU) on ESTIAS webpage: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/smart-borders/etias_en

The Council of Europe (EU) on ESTIAS webpage:https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/03/18/european-travel-information-and-authorisation-system-etias-council-presidency-and-european-parliament-provisionally-agree-on-rules-for-accessing-relevant-databases/

Therefore, be prepared and I would say get your travel plans done early. As I have been saying and reading many travel experts (if you recall reading my blog, used to work in management duties on IHG) , the avalanche is getting there and reservations without cancellation penalties will be the norm now. For example a popular French hotel chain Logis de France has 45% capacity book for summer by foreigners alone! Hope it helps.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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