LONDON: The United Kingdom will impose a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from France on Saturday because COVID-19 infection rates there are too high, transport minister Grant Shapps said on Thursday (Aug 13).
The government, wary of a second wave of the novel coronavirus, also added the Netherlands, Malta and three other countries to its quarantine list. Spain and Belgium have already been added in recent weeks.
"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," Shapps said on Twitter.
"If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days."
The French Foreign Ministry gave no immediate reaction.
France reported more than 2,500 new COVID-19 infections for the second day in a row on Thursday, levels last seen in mid-April when the country was in the middle of one of Europe's strictest lockdowns.
The reimposition of quarantine conditions is hitting Britons' favourite holiday destinations in the middle of summer and as the travel industry fights for survival.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government would be ruthless when it came to imposing fresh restrictions on arrivals because of the danger of importing fresh cases of the virus.
"We've got to be absolutely ruthless about this, even with our closest and dearest friends and partners around the world," Johnson told reporters on a visit to Northern Ireland.
"We will be looking at the data a bit later on this afternoon ... looking at exactly where France and other countries are getting to, and you know we can't be remotely complacent about our own situation."
That approach is in contrast to earlier this year when the government was criticised for being too slow to lock down at the beginning of the pandemic when many cases are thought to have arrived from holidaymakers returning from Italy. The UK's quarantine policy began in June.
For UK holidaymakers, France is the second most-visited country behind Spain. France is the second biggest market for tourists coming into the UK, behind the United States.