COVID-19: France to insist travellers from UK quarantine due to rising cases of Indian variant

France is to introduce mandatory quarantine for people arriving from the UK – due to the rise in cases of the Indian coronavirus variant.

France follows Austria, which on Tuesday said it was banning direct flights and tourist visits from Britain and Germany.

British tourists had been due to be allowed to visit France without restrictions from 9 June if they carried a certificate of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative PCR test.

But government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said at a news conference on Wednesday that France would now “put in place obligatory isolation” for people coming from the UK – but he did not give details of how long the quarantine period should last.

New variant coronavirus infections have been rising, while the incidence of all cases across the UK – with one of the
world’s fastest vaccine rollouts – has been stabilising, though it is still around 2,000 confirmed infections a day.

The number of COVID-19 patients fell last week to its lowest since September.

Clusters of the B.1.617 Indian variant have, however, grown quickly, to some 3,424 as of May 20, up by 2,111 compared to similar numbers the previous week.

The Indian variant has been reported in at least 17 countries.

The French government’s announcement will be a blow to a beleaguered tourism industry desperate for a return to
normal business ahead of the peak summer season.

Some 13 million Britons visited France every year before the coronavirus crisis began in early 2020, more than any other
nationality, according to official data.

Ge Kusters, owner of Le Paradis campsite in the Dordogne area and president of the regional campsite union, urged the French government to provide financial assistance for businesses like his.

He said: “It’s reasonable in terms of saving the French summer but will be very punishing for those regions which depend on British holidaymakers.

“More financial support is going to have to follow.”

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