France added to quarantine list due to coronavirus fears
Travellers arriving from France after 4am on Saturday will be required to quarantine for 14 days due to fears over rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the country.
The move came after Boris Johnson said ministers would be “absolutely ruthless” in deciding on whether to impose the self-isolation requirement.
The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba have also been added to the quarantine list from 4am on Saturday.
The decision to add France will cause dismay for thousands of British holidaymakers currently in the country.
It was made in response to the spread of the virus, with the latest 14-day cumulative figures showing 32.1 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in France, compared with 18.5 in the UK.
The move will also come as a bitter blow to the hard-pressed French tourism industry which relies heavily on visitors from the UK.
Meanwhile France’s secretary of state for European affairs said the UK decision would lead to “reciprocal measures” across the Channel.
Clement Beaune tweeted: “A British decision which we regret and which will lead to reciprocal measures, all in hoping for a return for normal as soon as possible.”
The Foreign Office updated its advice to warn against all but essential travel to the country because of the coronavirus risk.
Before the announcement was made, Mr Johnson said: “We have got to be absolutely ruthless about this, even with our closest and dearest friends and partners.
“I think everybody understands that.”
Mr Johnson said the Government could not allow the UK’s population to be “reinfected or the disease to come back in”.
“That is why the quarantine measures are very important and we have to apply them in a very strict way,” he said during a visit to Belfast.
With Spain already on the quarantine list, it now means that holidaymakers returning to the UK from the two most popular overseas destinations must now isolate for 14 days.
Shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, said: “While we support evidence based measures at the border, it’s vital that the Government has a joined-up strategy, and recognises the impact of this on travel-related businesses. It is vital that a sector-specific deal is put in place urgently.
“That the Government has still not put in place an effective track, trace and isolate system has made matters far worse and made it more likely that we are reliant on the blunt tool of 14-day quarantine.
“The Government should publish all of the scientific evidence its decisions are based on and details of any work being done to reduce the time needed to isolate through increased testing and other measures.”