Less than 60 hours before international travel is to become easier for vaccinated British travelers, France must be left out of the scheme.
Hundreds of thousands of travelers hoping for a quarantine-free journey back from France have had their hopes dashed.
Fears of the “beta variant” of coronavirus have led ministers to create a new category for incoming travelers: “amber plus”.
In contrast to the regular yellow list, arrivals from France from 4 Monday in quarantine in their own residence for 10 days and conduct two PCR tests regardless of vaccination status.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We have always been clear that we will not hesitate to take swift action at our borders to stop the spread of Covid-19 and protect the benefits of our successful vaccination program.
“With restrictions lifted Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure that international travel is carried out as safely as possible and to protect our borders from the threat of variants.”
The UK Health Security Agency CEO Dr Jenny Harries said: “As we ease the restrictions and start getting back to a normal life, it is more important than ever that we listen to the data and act decisively when it changes.
“While vaccines are helping us turn the tables against this virus, we need to continue to proceed cautiously. This means that we maintain our defenses against new varieties and protect our hard-won progress through the extraordinary vaccination rollout. ”
France is the second largest after Spain in terms of British visits and is home to hundreds of thousands of British foreigners and property owners.
Many booked trips to France after the government announced on July 8 that vaccinated travelers do not have to isolate themselves for arrivals from yellow list countries from 1 p.m. 4 on 19 July.
The reversal of this policy for France has caused dismay for ferry companies and airlines, who hoped to monetize the demand for school holidays and family visits.
EasyJet’s CEO, Johan Lundgren, said that the government’s traffic light system “for international risk management was collapsing.
He accused the government of “making it up when they go together and causing confusion and insecurity”.
Sir. Lundgren said: “It is not supported by science or transparent data, and this step pulls the rug out among our customers who have already traveled to France, or who are reserved to travel there, and these are the ones I feel for. ”
A spokesman for Abta, the travel association, said: “This announcement will undoubtedly put consumers’ trust in overseas travel, just as we are seeing many yellow listed countries open to UK visitors in time for the summer holidays.
“Continued changes in travel restrictions will delay any meaningful recovery for the industry.”
It may be that other popular destinations, perhaps including Cyprus and other Mediterranean islands with high infection rates, are being moved to the same yellow plus category.
The alternative that the ministers were considering was that France should be given the red list – but it is believed that the hotel quarantine system would not have been able to cope with the number of travelers arriving.