Fears are growing that people travelling to the UK from France could be forced to self-isolate following a surge in coronavirus cases.
Thousands face the prospect of a fortnight locked at home amid concerns that France could be the next country added to Britain’s quarantine list. Boris Johnson today insisted ministers would ‘not hesitate’ to impose restrictions on countries that see a rise in cases.
The government dropped a bombshell last month by announcing people arriving in Britain from Spain must isolate for 14 days. It was announced last week that Luxembourg, Andorra, The Bahamas and Belgium would join the list, as ministers urged against non-essential travel to the destinations.
Now officials are said to be planning new measures for a string of countries including Holland, Poland and Switzerland, according to Mail Online.
Face masks are now mandatory in busy areas of Paris from today after Covid-19 infections in France soared by 2,288 on Friday.
Visit our live blog for the latest updates: Coronavirus news live
Travel expert Paul Charles told The Times it is ‘vital’ cases are reduced in the country ‘over the next five days’ to avoid being added to the list.
Johnson said on Monday morning: ‘I don’t want to advise people about their individual holidays, individual decisions, they should look at the travel advice from the Foreign Office clearly.
‘But what I will say, and I hope people would expect us to do this, in the context of a global pandemic, we’ve got to keep looking at the data in all the countries to which British people want to travel.
‘Where it is necessary to impose restrictions or to impose a quarantine system, we will not hesitate to do so.’
The PM praised the country for its ‘huge effort’ to get infection rates down.
But he warned: ‘We do not want reinfection and that’s why we’ve got to keep a very, very close eye on the data in destinations around the world.’
It comes amid fears the quarantine list could exacerbate huge job losses as a result of the pandemic, with millions facing unemployment.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak admitted it was a ‘tricky’ situation when asked what holidaymakers in France should do.
But he insisted it was ‘the right thing to do’ to keep everything under review ‘on a constant basis’, following medical and scientific advice.
Sunak told Sky News: ‘We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and that means there is always the risk of disruption to travel plans and people need to bear that in mind.
‘If we need to take action as you’ve seen overnight, we will of course not hesitate to do that and we’re doing that to protect people’s health.’
French ministry adviser Jerome Salomon admitted there was a ‘very clear upwards trend in France and Europe’ – triggering fears of a second coronavirus wave.
When quizzed about the quarantine list, the prime minister’s official spokesperson revealed decisions to add or remove countries from the exemption list were ‘informed by the latest health data’.
He added: ‘We keep the data for all countries and territories under constant review. If there is a need to act very rapidly in order to protect public health, then we wouldn’t hesitate to do so.
‘Unfortunately, during this pandemic there isn’t a risk-free way of travelling overseas.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.