Covid UK: France “will not be added” to the “red list” of travel bans and hotel quarantine rules

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Covid UK: France


France is not expected to be added to the UK’s “red list” of countries subject to travel bans and hotel quarantines this week.

Government sources have played down speculation about the drastic move despite concerns over the spike in infections over the English Channel and the threat of importation of variants.

The powerful Covid O Cabinet subcommittee is due to meet tomorrow, but it is understood that there is no prospect of imminent action.

Some 35 countries are currently on the list, including much of South America, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Foreign nationals are prohibited from entering the UK if they have stayed in one of the states within the previous 10 days, and UK residents must complete 10 days of hotel quarantine. There are limited exemptions for essential workers.

Yesterday, Grant Shapps announced that all truck drivers entering England are subject to mandatory Covid-19 tests to strengthen their protections.

The transport secretary confirmed the new regime for carriers despite fears it could disrupt key imports.

Those coming from outside the UK for more than two days should be tested within 48 hours of arrival and every 72 hours thereafter.

France should not be added to UK ‘red list’ of countries subject to travel ban and hotel quarantine this week

UK residents returning from Red List countries must be quarantined in hotels for 10 days

UK residents returning from Red List countries must be quarantined in hotels for 10 days

Government sources have played down speculation about the drastic move despite concerns over the spike in infections over the English Channel and the threat of importation of variants.  This graph shows the seven-day moving average of new infections per million people

Government sources have played down speculation about the drastic move despite concerns about the surge in infections in the English Channel and the threat of importation of variants. This graph shows the seven-day moving average of new infections per million people

Grant Shapps confirmed new regime for carriers amid fears it could disrupt key imports

Grant Shapps confirmed new regime for carriers amid fears it could disrupt key imports

Carriers staying in England for more than two days will be required to take a test within 48 hours of arrival and then every 72 hours thereafter.  Pictured, Dover last week

Carriers staying in England for more than two days will be required to take a test within 48 hours of arrival and then every 72 hours thereafter. Pictured, Dover last week

“This is to make sure we keep track of any future variant of #Coronavirus of concern,” Shapps said on Twitter.

A similar move by France in December caused chaos in UK ports, but the industry now believes there are enough rapid tests available for the impact to be managed.

Although most overseas travel has been banned from Britain until at least May 17, essential workers such as truck drivers have been exempted as they carry essential supplies. Instead, they were encouraged to take rapid flow tests.

Failure to comply with the new rules could result in fines similar to the £ 2,000 penalties for travelers not being screened during home quarantine.

Border Force personnel engaged in cross-Channel work and similar arrangements for those working on trains and ferries in the region will be required to pass three mandatory tests per week.

France has dropped its obligation to test carriers from the UK, which had been in place since December.

Truck drivers departing from Great Britain to Denmark, Germany or the Netherlands still have to take an exam.

Concerns are growing over the spread of South African and Brazilian variants of the coronavirus on the continent.

Home Affairs Committee chair Yvette Cooper spoke to Boris Johnson about the situation on Wednesday, demanding to know why carriers from France were not being tested.

In comments which were taken as an allusion to expanding the ‘red list’, Mr Johnson replied that ‘we need to look at the situation in the Channel’ and ‘we cannot rule out tougher measures and we will put them in place if necessary ‘.

He told MPs: “There is a balance to be struck, and what we don’t know is the exact status of vaccine efficacy against the new variants.

“We have to find a balance between that and the very serious disruption caused by the reduction in cross-Channel trade.

“We will make the decision – no matter how difficult – to stop this trade and stop these flows if we believe there is a need to protect public health and prevent the emergence of new variants. “

When France demanded testing of carriers crossing the Channel in December, thousands of trucks were stranded in Kent while the arrangements were put in place.

Three months after the delays, France last week lifted its obligation for truck drivers arriving from Britain to present a negative Covid test.

French authorities began testing truck drivers in Dover before crossing the Channel in December last year (pictured).  They dropped out of the program last week

French authorities began testing truck drivers in Dover before crossing the Channel in December last year (pictured). They dropped out of the program last week

There was huge disruption in Dover in December (pictured) when France imposed similar testing rules on carriers

There was huge disruption in Dover in December (pictured) when France imposed similar testing rules on carriers

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