Coronavirus: UK ‘will not hesitate’ to add France to quarantine list

France has been placed ‘on notice’ to crack down on new cases or face being placed on the list

Liam James,Simon Calder
Friday 07 August 2020 08:38 BST
Coronavirus: Weekly rate of new Covid-19 cases in England

The government “will not hesitate to take action” and add more countries to its quarantine list, chancellor Rishi Sunak has said, when asked about speculation that France could follow Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas onto the list requiring travellers to stay at home for 14 days.

Speaking after the decision was taken to add two new European countries to the UK’s “no go” list, Mr Sunak said: “If we need to take action overnight we will of course not hesitate to do that.”

“We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and that means there is always the risk of disruption to travel plans and people need to bear that in mind,” the chancellor told Sky News on Friday morning.

France has been placed “on notice” to crack down on new cases or face being placed on the list. The Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England are watching infection rates closely.

New cases of the virus rose by more than 1,600 for the second day in a row in France on Thursday, following a number of steep daily rises in recent weeks.

There are believed to be between 500,000 and 1 million British travellers in France, as well as many more who are semi-permanent residents.

If the Foreign Office warns against non-essential travel, and the Department for Transport removes France from the quarantine-exempt list, there would undoubtedly be a rush to leave the country and return to Britain before the deadline.

Travellers were given 32 hours’ notice of the most recent additions to the no-go list – Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas – after the government faced criticism for announcing Spain’s addition less than five hours before restrictions came into effect.

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