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France “on the cusp” of quarantine travel list after spike in cases, reports say
12 August 2020, 11:24
France could be added to the UK quarantine list as early as today, as ministers consider whether an increase in coronavirus cases in the country poses a risk to UK public health.
Currently holidaymakers returning to Britain from France are exempt from a 14-day return quarantine based “on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks”.
However, after 10,800 new cases were in France in the past week, with newspapers reporting Cabinet Minister Michael Gove will today chair a meeting in Downing Street to discuss removing France from this list.
Government sources said: “As we speak now France is probably just shy of crossing the line but it’s certainly right on the cusp”.
But they also added that the government may also “wait a few more days and get some more data”, as “it’s such a huge call” with wide repercussions for the travel industry.
This follows the removal of Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas last week “following data showing a significant increase in confirmed cases".
On Tuesday French Prime Minister Jean Castex warned that the country’s “epidemiological situation is deteriorating”, with around 2,000 new cases per day compared to 1,000 three weeks ago.
He also called on local authorities in the country to use their powers to impose mask-wearing in more outdoor spaces to combat the spread of the virus.
Currently, France has a 14-day average of 29.4 cases per 100,000 while the UK has 17.1. Spain’s rate was 27.4 around the time it was removed from the UK’s travel air-bridge list.
The Joint Biosecurity Council, the British government unit responsible for coronavirus, labels countries with rates over 20 cases per 100,000 as “high prevalence”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated on Monday that ministers will "not hesitate" to reimpose the quarantine requirement for arrivals from more countries if needed and the British government has committed to publishing a weekly update to the countries on the so-called “red list”.
People who do not self-isolate for 14-days when they are required to after being abroad can be fined up to £1,000.
Furthermore, people travelling to countries on the quarantine list may find it difficult to get travel insurance as the Foreign Office recommends against all but essential travel to these countries.