France declared a mandatory quarantine period for people coming from Britain on Wednesday, due to the increasing prevalence in that country of a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus first detected in India.
France is following Austria, which said on Tuesday it was banning direct flights and sightseeing from Britain, and Germany, which on Friday said anyone entering from the UK should be quarantined for two weeks upon arrival. Read more
“There is a new situation with the progression of the so-called Indian variant in the UK,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal said. “(France) will put in place compulsory isolation for people coming from the UK. “
The isolation will have to last for seven days, Clément Beaune, the young French minister for European affairs, said on Twitter, adding that visitors should also present a COVID-19 test carried out less than 48 hours before departure.
The measures are expected to come into force on Monday.
Coronavirus infections in Britain have risen again, but the overall incidence is still low in a country with one of the fastest vaccine deployments in the world. The number of COVID-19 hospital patients fell last week to its lowest level since September.
India’s B.1.617 variant clusters, however, rose rapidly to stand at 3,424 last Thursday, up 2,111 from similar figures the week before. The Indian variant has been reported in at least 17 countries.
The French government’s announcement will deal a severe blow to parts of the besieged tourism industry, which desperately needs a return to business before the high summer season.
“It’s reasonable to save the French summer but it will be very painful for the regions which depend on British holidaymakers,” said Ge Kusters, owner of Le Paradis campsite in Dordogne and president of the regional campsites union.
“Additional financial support will have to follow. “
British tourists were to be allowed to visit France without restrictions from June 9 if they carried a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or a negative COVID-19 PCR test.
Some 13 million Britons traveled to France each year before the onset of the coronavirus crisis in early 2020, more than any other nationality, according to official data.
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