France introduces mandatory quarantine for UK travellers

French government is latest in EU to impose restrictions on UK travellers

A picture shows the Eiffel Tower in Paris on May 8, 2021. / AFP / Martin BUREAU
A picture shows the Eiffel Tower in Paris on May 8, 2021. / AFP / Martin BUREAU

UK travellers will be under new restrictions in France as Paris tries to halt the spread of the coronavirus variant identified in India.

On Wednesday, the French government joined other EU nations in announcing mandatory quarantine for anyone arriving from the UK, although the length is yet to be confirmed.

Germany imposed a two-week quarantine on UK arrivals last week. Austria has banned direct UK flights from June 1.

By last week, the UK had recorded 3,424 cases of the Indian variant, a rise of 2,111 cases from the previous week.

England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, has said the Indian variant is "more transmittable" than the UK variant first identified in Kent, which was responsible for Britain's deadly wave of coronavirus infections this winter.

"We expect, over time, this variant to overtake and come to dominate in the UK," Prof Whitty said.

But a study this week found that two injections of the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccines offered a similar level of protection against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant and the Kent strain.

But protection after a first dose was lower in the Indian variant compared to the Kent variant – 33 per cent to 50 per cent.

France, Germany and Austria are on England's "amber" list, meaning that the government advises against travel there and passengers must enter quarantine on return.

However, France had planned to allow fully vaccinated travellers from the UK, or those who tested negative, to visit from June 9.

Spain, another amber country, has already reopened to UK tourists.

Last week, the EU agreed on a pass to allow travel across the bloc's 27 countries for people who have been fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine, recently tested negative or recovered from an infection.

It is expected to be launched before July.

More on coronavirus travel restrictions

Eiffel Tower to reopen on July 16 with limited number of visitors per day

Spain welcomes UK and US tourists as EU eyes return of long-haul travel

UAE explained: quarantine rules for tourists and business visitors to Abu Dhabi

Updated: May 27, 2021 01:56 AM

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