The UK has shut down multiple travel corridors and imposed travel restrictions on countries that have 20 or more coronavirus cases per 100,000 people. On the list of countries where people returning to Britain must quarantine, France is the latest to be added. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the nation had been “heading the wrong way” amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
But he also defended the Government’s position on not testing travellers at airports.
Speaking on Sky News on Friday, Mr Shapps said: “Testing on return isn’t quite as straightforward as its sounds because if you test somebody who’s asymptomatic on day one on their return, then it would probably only capture a very small percentage.
“Clearly you need to have a system which is more accurate than that before you can say to people, you’ve now been tested, you don’t need to quarantine.
“We have seen [the virus] lift across Europe. It’s really important that we try our hardest to prevent that from creating the problems that we’re all so familiar with.”
Currently, approximately 160,000 Briton are in France, and the two-week quarantine requirement will come into effect at 4am on Saturday.
The Transport Secretary told BBC Breakfast: “Given what’s already happened in places like Spain and the vast amount of coverage about concerns in France and elsewhere, no-one will be entirely surprised.
“I do sympathise with people – I’ve been there myself and ended up having to quarantine as a result.”
French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said he had spoken to Mr Shapps about the decision.
He said: “France regrets the UK’s decision and will apply reciprocal measures in the field of transport.
“I told my counterpart Grant Shapps of our will to harmonise health protocols in order to ensure a high level of protection on both sides of the Channel.”
But France is not the only country being removed from the quarantine list, which is valid for England only.
The following countries and territories will be removed from the list at 4am on Saturday, August 15:
- the Netherlands
- Turks and Caicos Islands
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You will need to self-isolate if you visited or made a transit stop in a country or territory that is NOT on the list in the 14 days before you arrive in England:
- Akrotiri and Dhekelia
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Aruba (will be removed from the list, 4am Saturday 15 August 2020)
- Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba
- British Antarctic Territory
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- Brunei (added 11 August – if you arrived in England from Brunei before 11 August, you will need to self–isolate)
- Cayman Islands
- the Channel Islands
- Czech Republic
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- France (will be removed from the list, 4am Saturday, August 15, 2020)
- French Polynesia
- Hong Kong
- the Isle of Man
- Macao (Macau)
- Malaysia (added 11 August – if you arrived in England from Malaysia before 11 August, you will need to self–isolate)
- Malta (will be removed from the list, 4am Saturday, August 15, 2020)
- Monaco (will be removed from the list, 4am Saturday, August 15, 2020)
- the Netherlands (will be removed from the list, 4am Saturday, August 15, 2020)
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
- San Marino
- South Korea
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- St Barthélemy
- St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Pierre and Miquelon
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands (will be removed from the list, 4am Saturday, August 15, 2020)
- Vatican City State
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