New travel restriction
France and Netherlands added to quarantine list
Travellers from France facing restrictions (Pic: Parisinfo.com)
Travellers arriving in the UK from France and the Netherlands will be forced to quarantine for 14 days from Saturday morning.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the measure – which also applies to people travelling from Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, and Aruba – was necessary following a surge in cases of coronavirus in these territories.
France reported a 66% increase in the number of positive coronavirus tests in the past week. Clement Beaune, France’s secretary of state for European affairs, said the UK decision was regrettable and it is likely to introduce “reciprocal measures”.
Whitehall officials said the decision to move swiftly was also partly driven by demands from the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for immediate action.
Grant Shapps: ‘we can’t afford to reimport cases’
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, called the move “another devastating blow to the travel industry” and urged the government to use airport testing.
With up to half a million UK tourists thought to be in France at present, the deadline is expected to prompt thousands of tourists to cut short their holidays today to avoid quarantine on their return home.
KLM was offering flights today from Amsterdam to Aberdeen for €580, to Edinburgh for €204 and to Glasgow for €218.
John Keefe, director of public affairs at Getlink, which operates the Channel Tunnel, said Eurotunnel trains were “already pretty much fully booked”.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the move just hours after the prime minister said his government would be “absolutely ruthless” in deciding whether to impose the restriction.
Mr Shapps said: “We’re announcing that there will now be a quarantine brought in for a number of other locations including France, Holland and some others.
“That’s because we’ve absolutely worked so hard to ensure that we’re keeping our numbers down here, and we can’t afford to reimport those cases from elsewhere.
“It will be operational throughout the United Kingdom from 4am on Saturday morning.”
The number of daily infections confirmed by test in France was 2,669 in the past 24 hours — the fourth time in a week that it had exceeded 2,000 — setting a new post-lockdown record.
The cumulative total of cases in the country has now reached 209,365 and the seven-day rolling average of new infections has increased to 1,962, a level not seen since the end of April.
France’s cumulative 14-day total of Covid-19 cases stands at 32.1 per 100,000; in the Netherlands that figure is 40.2 and Malta 74.8. The UK’s figure by comparison is 18.5.