On Friday evening, the government announced that fears over the beta variant meant that France would be excluded from opening “orange list” destinations to vaccinated travelers, which takes effect at 4 a.m. on Monday.
But French MEP and doctor Véronique Trillet-Lenoir told BBC Today the variant, originally identified in South Africa, was only of concern on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean – a French overseas department.
“It is not at all present in France, in mainland France,” she said.
“The variant is located in Reunion, which is an island in the Indian Ocean both very far from France and England. “
The independent asked the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs for a response to its comments and the scientific data behind the time-face.
As part of the government announcement on Friday evening, the Director General of the Health Security Agency, Dr Jenny Harries, said: “As we relax the restrictions and start to return to normal life, it is more. vital than ever to listen to the data. and act decisively when it changes.
“As vaccines help us turn the tide against this virus, we must continue to proceed with caution. This means maintaining our defenses against new variants and protecting our hard-earned progress through the exceptional rollout of vaccination. ”
Data analyst Donal Kane called the move ‘bananas’ and said:’ What they could have done would have been to apply the rules to certain French overseas territories only.
“The general rule for all of France is simply stupid and risks imposing retaliatory rules by the French. “
The move has raised fears that other European countries will soon be transferred to the new amber box plus, triggering the obligation to self-isolate.
Ben Bradshaw of Labor, member of the Special Committee on Transport, tweeted: “What a total, total mess!
“Recommend to anyone who wants and can: Get out now, before Johnson and his unnecessary cronies make it impossible to leave the UK, the country with the highest Covid-19 rates in Europe, thanks to the Johnson variant . “
Julia Lo Bue-Said, Managing Director of Advantage Travel Partnership, responded: “This is how we all feel. But useless buddies will remain useless buddies, making the life of those who want and need to travel a misery. “
The move leaves the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers in ruins. Barbara Emmerton and her husband have been booked to visit friends in Bergerac in southwest France – with flights, airport parking and three rounds of Covid tests already prepaid.
She said The independent: “So completely emptied. I’m not sure if I can get the quarantine time from work now. ”