“We are concerned about the Indian variant and we remain alert on this subject, in cooperation with the British authorities,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio.
He said the UK could be placed in a full-fledged health category, somewhere between the more stringent measures imposed by France on visitors from India and 15 other countries, and more relaxed requirements for visitors from the EU and certain other countries.
Le Drian said the French government was monitoring developments before taking a decision.
“We hope that the variant can be controlled in a country that has experienced real failures during the pandemic,” he said.
“However, the arrival of the Indian variant and the increase in cases of the Indian variant in the UK are problematic and we are therefore vigilant about this (and) in contact with the UK authorities.
“It won’t be the red treatment if we have to. It will be an intermediate treatment.
“But we are not ruling out – this occurs to me because of British tourists – to have somewhat stronger health measures. “
Currently, Britons traveling to France must show proof of a negative PCR test carried out less than 72 hours before departure and complete a health declaration form committing to self-isolate for seven days and pass a second PCR test.
France is on the UK’s ‘orange’ list, with ministers saying people should only go there when needed, but Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he was optimistic it would be. placed on the green list later this year.
Speaking of reviewing the list, especially for the holidays, he told FT: “If you look at the vaccination rate in France, they are six or eight weeks late”.
However, France could halt holiday plans if even stricter isolation plans apply to British travelers.
Meanwhile, Spain says it will allow Britons to enter country from Monday without negative COVID-19 test.
However, the UK government also considers Spain an Orange List nation and advises against going there unless it is essential.
People returning to England from Amber List countries must self-isolate at home for 10 days and undergo COVID testing on day two and day eight.
The Indian variant has become the dominant strain in parts of the UK, with a 160% increase in cases over the week.
Surge tests have been deployed in areas such as Bolton, Bedford and parts of West London in an attempt to contain the spread of the variant, which has been successful in Sefton.
A PHE study found that Pfizer vaccine is 88% effective against Indian variant after two doses and AstraZeneca is 60% effective, offering a better picture than originally thought.
Mr Le Drian’s comments come as France’s digital affairs minister said the government’s contact tracing app has now been downloaded by 16.5 million people – 24.6% of the French population.
The app will include a ‘health pass’ that people can use to attend sporting events, festivals and theme parks, as it will provide proof that a person has been vaccinated, recently tested negative, or is recovering. COVID-19, as well as natural antibodies.
The EU struck a deal on Thursday to allow tourists to use COVID-19 certificates in the 27-nation bloc from June 16.
Because the UK is no longer in the EU it is not part of the program, but the UK has launched vaccine certificates on the NHS app.
Germany has already imposed stricter rules on British travelers in response to the spread of the Indian variant.
People arriving from UK must now be quarantined for 14 days – although Germany remains on the UK’s orange list.