UK adds France, Netherlands to travel quarantine list

Britain on Thursday said it will reimpose quarantine for travellers from France and the Netherlands, prompting Paris to quickly announce a “reciprocal measure”.

The UK government declared the change, which will likely spark a mass exodus among the estimated half a million British holidaymakers currently in France, after a rise in coronavirus cases there.

“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,” transport minister Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter.

“If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.”

French junior minister for European affairs Clement Beaune said that it was “a British decision we regret and which will lead to a reciprocal measure”.

France “hoped for a return to normal as soon as possible,” Beaune said on Twitter. On Thursday France recorded 2,669 new coronavirus infections, its highest daily number since May.

Britain had initially imposed a blanket quarantine on all visitors arriving in the country, but later carved out “travel corridors”, which exempted travellers arriving from certain countries from having to self-isolate.

But it reintroduced the quarantine for travellers arriving from Spain in late July, catching airlines by surprise — as well as thousands of Britons leaving for their holidays.

Britain reimposed quarantine for travellers from Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas last week.

With more than 41,000 deaths caused by the COVID-19 disease, Britain is the worst-hit country in Europe and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been criticised over his handling of the crisis.

His government also announced on Thursday that casinos and bowling alleys will be allowed to reopen in England after being shut during the lockdown, but that those not wearing masks face harsher fines. (AFP | James Pheby)

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