In an announcement Thursday evening, the UK government said France was being removed from the list of countries exempt from quarantine requirements due to the rise in coronavirus infections, which rose 66% last week.
The Netherlands, Malta, Monaco and the Caribbean islands of Aruba and Turks & Caicos are also added to the quarantine list.
The requirement to spend 14 days in self-isolation will apply to anyone returning to the UK after 4 a.m. local time on Saturday, a period that can cause many people to try to return before that date.
This could be particularly the case for anyone currently in France, which is the second most popular holiday destination for UK tourists.
Getlink, which operates channel tunnel train services, has warned travelers that they may not be able to return on time as the services are heavily booked.
John Keefe, public affairs director for Getlink, told the BBC that the trains were “already nearly full” on Friday.
He said there was “a possibility of adding extra trains during off-peak periods”, but insisted that potential travelers should check online before heading to the terminal.
While the number of new infections in Britain is also increasing, they are not believed to be increasing at the same rate as in countries added to the quarantine list.
Latest 14-day cumulative figures from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control show 32.1 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in France, compared to 18.5 in the UK
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that everyone “understands that in a pandemic you do not allow our population to be re-infected or the disease to return”.
This decision is a blow to the French tourism industry. Clément Beaune, French Secretary of State for European Affairs, said in a tweet that the British decision would lead to “reciprocal measures”.
Australian Associated Press