France, the Netherlands and Malta have been added to the UK government’s unsafe list, meaning returning visitors will have to quarantine for two weeks.
Monaco, the Faroe Islands, Aruba and the Turks and Caicos will also be added to the list from 4am on Saturday morning.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also updated its advice to warn against all but essential travel to France.
The move, which had been expected, means a half a million Brits currently in France are expected to scramble to get home if they want to avoid quarantine.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter: “Data shows we need to remove France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos & Aruba from our list of #coronavirus Travel Corridors to keep infection rates DOWN.
Data shows we need to remove France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos & Aruba from our list of #coronavirus Travel Corridors to keep infection rates DOWN. If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) August 13, 2020
“If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.”
He added: “The French government have said that unfortunately the virus has been going the wrong way there.
“There has been a 66% in the number of positive tests in the last week alone, so unfortunately France is having to be added to the quarantine list and it means that if you are coming back from France then you must self isolate for 14 days from Sunday.”
Ahead of the announcement, prime minister Boris Johnson insisted: “We have got to be absolutely ruthless about this, even with our closest and dearest friends and partners.
“I think everybody understands that. We can’t be remotely complacent about our own situation.
“Everybody understands that in a pandemic you don’t allow our population to be reinfected or the disease to come back in.”
Eurotunnel advised customers in France and hoping to return early to amend their tickets online before travelling to the French terminal.
In a statement it said: “The service is already very busy this weekend and there is no additional capacity. To avoid long queues and severe disruption we strongly advise against turning up at the terminal outside the allocated time. Customers will be unable to board alternative shuttles without a valid booking.
“We will continue to run our services as scheduled, as we did throughout the height of the pandemic; not only for freight but to transport those whose travel is essential and those customers who might be travelling to other European destinations.”
Abta noted the changes and advised: “Those currently travelling in these countries do not need to leave at this time, but they are advised to follow the advice of the local public health authority.
“Customers in destination should contact their travel provider if they have any questions about their return journey and those due to travel imminently should contact their travel provider to discuss their options.
An Abta spokesperson said “The government’s measures to restrict travel will result in livelihoods being lost unless it can step in with tailored support for the travel industry.
“The announcements relating to Spain and now France impact the two biggest destinations for British holidaymakers at the height of the summer season, affecting an industry that has had trade significantly restricted since the start of this crisis.
“A plan is urgently needed to protect the 221,000 jobs the travel industry sustains.”
Speaking on behalf of the aviation sector, Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “It’s another devastating blow to the travel industry.
“Having the political will to move to a sub-national approach to quarantine, in addition to a testing regime for arriving passengers so that those testing negative can avoid having to self-isolate, is urgently needed.”
Former Travel Counsellors chairman and founder, David Speakman, tweeted: “This is just ridiculous when hospitalisations and deaths are now far fewer than flu.
“The Govt should name those who make the decisions so they will be excluded from any future job that needs a brain!”
This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.