However, Mr Johnson said the consequences of such a move would be significant.
Analysis of the policy and statistics also shows that this is unlikely, especially in the short term, especially given the severe disruption of food and medicine deliveries to the UK and the fact that the worst cases new strains have stabilized in France.
During the discussions yesterday in the liaison committee of deputies, on which the red list reports are based, the call to put France on the list came from Yvette Cooper of Labor. The Prime Minister did not show enthusiasm but did not exclude it.
Getting on the list would mean that only UK residents could travel to the UK from France, with very rare exceptions. Even UK residents should undergo a 10-day quarantine period in a government-approved hotel.
What would prompt the UK to put France on the red list?
Significantly, however, food and drug carriers would be subject to Covid testing and quarantine rules if France were on the red list, meaning cross-Channel deliveries would likely be halted.
Mr Johnson said yesterday that these workers, who are exempt from the Covid tests required for most arrivals, usually enter and leave very quickly.
What was said at yesterday’s meeting of deputies?
Speaking on the MPs’ Liaison Committee, Labor’s Yvette Cooper said the greatest danger to the UK’s vaccination program and its ability to break out of lockdown is the arrival of new variants, particularly the South African and Brazilian variants. She singled out France by asking: “Why haven’t you introduced additional measures or put France on the red list?”
Ms Cooper criticized the fact that no Covid test is required of carriers coming and going from the mainland, saying: ‘You have 20,000 people arriving from France each week, two-thirds of whom [mostly hauliers] are exempt from testing and quarantine.
“Everyone understands that carriers can’t be quarantined and do their vital jobs, but why don’t you test them? There are 2 to 3,000 new cases of South African and Brazilian variants per day in France and in some regions of France, they represent more than 30% of cases and it is globally increasing. ”
In fact, the UK’s Red List rules state that carriers who have been to Red List countries must observe a 10-day hotel quarantine.
Mr Johnson said the UK was quick to put places on the red list if they were seen as the origin of new strains, such as Brazil and South Africa.
He said: “At the moment in the UK these worrisome variants and the effectiveness of vaccines against them are still a matter of debate, but they are not increasing, their numbers are low. We’re limiting them as best we can with research testing and door-to-door tracing, which I think is the right thing to do.
“Regarding the inclusion of France on the red list and the consequences that would have on British supplies and cross-Channel movements, remember that 75% of our medicines and 50% of our food goes through the short strait. . [ie. across the Channel] So there are consequences, but that’s something we’ll have to look at.
“We will have to consider more stringent measures because of this ambiguity about the effectiveness of vaccines. ”
He added that the number of people coming from France had “massively decreased” and “those arriving in large numbers and those whose business is deemed essential for the security and supply of our country.
“I’m afraid we can’t rule out stricter measures and we will put them in place if necessary, and yes if testing is necessary [for hauliers] we will, but we have to find a balance between disruption and risk.
“Very serious disruptions are linked to the reduction in cross-Channel trade. We depend very heavily on the food in our stores and the medicines we need to keep this business running smoothly.
“We will make the decision, no matter how difficult, to stop these flows if we believe it is necessary for public health and to prevent the arrival of new variants and we may have to do so very soon. ”
He said, however, that “by Yvette’s logic”, due to the uncertainty over the arrival of new strains, they should put the whole world on the red list, but he did not believe that the economy or the public would accept that.
According to the discussion, therefore, the “stricter measures”, if taken, could simply mean that carriers have to take a Covid test.
When will we know if France is placed on the red list?
On previous occasions this year, new additions were announced with immediate effect on Friday.
However, judging by Mr Johnson’s remarks, France’s addition tomorrow seems unlikely.
Are there more cases of new variants in France than in the UK?
Yes, according to official British figures, the number of detected cases of the South African and Brazilian variants is very low: a total of 366 and 56 respectively.
In the last weekly update of Public Health France, it was indicated that 5% of recent cases in France were linked to one or the other of these variants, a figure which would have stabilized, contrary to the assertion of Ms. Cooper that they “have increased. globally ”. Many more cases were linked to the “UK” variant.
A department of France, Moselle, has more than 30% of cases linked to South African and Brazilian strains. Nine in total out of 95 departments in mainland France account for more than 10%.
In recent days, new cases in France have been around 30,000 cases / day on average, so if 5% are the South African or Brazilian variants, it would be 1,500 cases / day.
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