France excluded from amber list quarantine easing
As though the rules for international travel were not already complex enough, government officials have now confirmed fully jabbed travellers returning to England and Wales from France will still have to quarantine from Monday.
The move has been branded a “catastrophe” by the travel industry.
From July 19th, adults who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 arriving from amber list countries will not need to isolate for ten days.
However, officials have stated 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.
The more infectious Delta variant - first identified in India - accounts for almost all new cases in the UK.
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.”
Criticism in response to the decision has been widespread.
Willie Walsh, the director-general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said: “The UK has no coherent policy on international travel” and is “destroying its own travel sector and the thousands of jobs that rely on it”.
The sentiments were echoed by Gary Lewis, chief executive of the Travel Network Group.
He said: “The last few government announcements are a catastrophe for the travel industry.
“Creating confusion and worry not of the virus but in customers’ fear of their freedom being restricted on return from travel.
“People want and need to travel.
“Customers are not scared of the risks.
“The vast majority are no longer at high risk of this disease because we are jabbed, or are young.”
An ABTA spokesperson said the decision was likely to cause further confusion.
“While we understand that public health must come first, this announcement will undoubtedly dent consumer confidence in overseas travel just as we are about to see many amber-listed countries opening up for UK visitors in time for the summer holidays.
“Continuing changes to travel restrictions will delay any meaningful recovery for the industry and this news is just the latest example of why a tailored package of financial support for the travel and tourism sector must be introduced,” a statement explained.