Covid: Fully jabbed arrivals from France must still quarantineon July 16, 2021 at 8:42 pm

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A planned relaxation of England’s rules from Monday will not apply due to cases of the Beta variant.

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Fully jabbed travellers returning to England and Wales from France will still have to quarantine from Monday.

From 19 July, adults who have been double jabbed in the UK arriving from amber list countries will not need to isolate for 10 days.

But the government said the easing would not apply to France due to “persistent” cases of the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa.

There are concerns vaccines may not work as well against the Beta variant.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We have always been clear that we will not hesitate to take rapid action at our borders to stop the spread of Covid-19 and protect the gains made by our successful vaccination programme.

“With restrictions lifting on Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure international travel is conducted as safely as possible, and protect our borders from the threat of variants.”

Travel firms have criticised the move, accusing the government of causing confusion.

The change means that anyone who has been in France in the previous 10 days will need to quarantine on arrival to England in their own accommodation and will need a day two and day eight test, regardless of their vaccination status.

This includes any fully vaccinated individual who transits through France from either a green or another amber country.

Existing amber list exemptions for key workers such as hauliers will remain in place.

Travellers from France will still have the option of shortening their quarantine period through the Test to Release scheme – if they pay for a test on day five and are negative.

For arrivals from other amber list countries, the requirement to quarantine is being scrapped for the fully vaccinated and under-18s from Monday in all parts of the UK.

Chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “These random rule changes make it almost impossible for travellers and industry to plan ahead, and can only further undermine consumer trust at the very peak of the summer season.”

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of EasyJet, said the government was “making it up as they go along and causing confusion and uncertainty”.

“It is not backed up by the science or transparent data and this move pulls the rug out from under our customers who have already travelled to France or who are booked to travel there and so it is them I feel for,” he added.

Tory MP Henry Smith, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of Aviation, said the announcement was “a real setback to international travel”.

“We all expected that the traffic light system would provide much-needed certainty yet our current approach has only delivered confusion, which continues to prevent any meaningful recovery for our aviation, travel and tourism sectors,” he said.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Whilst we are committed to continuing to open up international travel safely, our absolute priority is to protect public health here in the UK.”

It comes just two days after the government announced popular holiday destinations Ibiza, Majorca, Menorca and Formentera would be moved to the amber list.

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