High-speed train services restart between France and Spain

High speed train services between France and Spain - suspended during the lockdown and border closures - have now restarted.

High-speed train services restart between France and Spain
Photo: AFP

France reopened its borders on June 15th, but in Spain it came a week later on June 21st.

Now that the border is fully reopened and all quarantine requirements have been lifted, operators Renfe-SNCF have from July 1st restarted high-speed links between French and Spanish cities.

From July 1st there will be two daily services between Barcelona, Girona and Figueres and the French cities of Perpignan, Narbonne, Béziers, Agde, Sète, Montpellier, Nimes, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Valence and Paris. 

The operators added that services will be increased after that in response to demand.

Masks are compulsory on board and restaurant and bar services will remain closed initially.

A company spokesman said: “In response to the current health situation due to Covid-19, Renfe-SNCF en Coopération is implementing a protocol that emphasises both social responsibility and the protection of the health and interests of travellers and employees, thus guaranteeing safety both on the trains and in the stations.

“Both Renfe and SNCF have started the certification processes imposed in each country involving the protocols for cleaning and disinfecting trains so as to prevent COVID and ensure that their services are provided under the safest and highest hygienic-sanitary guarantees.”


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US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Authorities in the USA have announced the end of the Covid-testing requirement for arrivals from Europe, meaning that fully vaccinated people will soon be able to travel between Europe and the US without needing pre-travel tests.

US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Most of Europe had dropped the testing requirement for fully-vaccinated arrivals in the spring, but the US has maintained the requirement to show proof of a negative test for all arrivals.

However on Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would not renew the testing requirement.

The new rule is expected to come into effect at 12.01 Sunday EDT, until then passengers will still need to show a negative Covid test before they can board a plane to the US.

The US currently bars unvaccinated travellers from entry – although this does not apply to US citizens, US residents or those travelling for essential reasons – there was no announcement on lifting this restriction. 

The CDC said that testing requirements could be reinstated if new variants of Covid emerge, and added that it continues to recommend pre-travel testing. 

Covid travel rules vary between individual countries in Europe, but most countries now only require pre-departure tests for unvaccinated travellers. Check the rules of the country you are travelling to for full details. 

To be counted as ‘fully vaccinated’ travellers must have received both doses of an EMA-approved vaccine – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (or a single dose of Janssen).

If their vaccination was more than nine months ago, they need a booster shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated – people who have had a booster do not need a second, even if their booster shot was more than nine months ago.