Anyone planning a holiday across the Channel is being warned to “keep an eye” on Foreign Office advice, in case France’s quarantine status changes, a minister has said.
France’s position was being kept under review, health minister Helen Whately said, stressing that they would not hesitate to impose more coronavirus travel restrictions to stop the “horrid disease” spreading further in the UK.
It means Britain’s neighbour could be added to the list of countries from which returning travellers have to complete a 14-day quarantine.
‘The crisis here is a serious one’
A recent spike in cases in France has prompted the government to consider action and on Friday, the number of daily cases there jumped to more than 2,200.
That was a post-lockdown high but it has dropped since – to 2,184 new infections on Saturday, 1,885 on Sunday and 785 on Monday, the country’s health ministry said.
Emmanuel Macron’s government responded by bringing in new rules on wearing face coverings in some busy outdoor areas of Paris.
Ms Whately said: “We took action in Spain when we saw the rates going up there rapidly.
“With France, we have to keep it under review and I would say to people just keep an eye if you are planning a holiday – keep an eye on the Foreign Office advice and be clear on your insurance terms and conditions,” she told Talk Radio.
Ministers are basing decisions on more than just the number of new cases, she emphasised, with the number of tests being carried out another guide.
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“You need to look at a range of these factors, we take the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, the clinical adviser, on what is the right thing to do.
“But we are in a pandemic, this is a horrid disease, we have to do what is right for the health of our nation.”
Face masks have been made compulsory in some of Paris’ most popular tourist areas, including along the River Seine and Montmartre, with on-the-spot fines of 135 euros (£122) for flouting the rules.
Any new restrictions are likely to be announced at the end of the week, unless a sudden surge in cases forces ministers’ hands before then.
Updated analysis of coronavirus infections abroad from the government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre is expected in midweek.
Ministers are keen for people to be aware of the possibility that new quarantine measures could be imposed.