Fully vaccinated travellers returning to the UK from France will have to quarantine.
As of Monday, July 19, fully vaccinated travellers returning back to England and Wales from France will still have to quarantine.
As of the same day, adults who have been fully vaccinated in the UK arriving from amber list countries will not need to isolate for 10 days. However, the government said this would not apply to France because of “persistent” cases of the Beta variant which was first identified in South Africa.
There are concerns that the vaccines may not be as effective against the Beta variant, which accounts for nearly all new cases of the virus in the UK.
This variant accounts for around 10 per cent of new infections in France, including the Indian Ocean territories of Reunion and Mayotte, where the variant is the main virus.
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.”
Travel firms have criticised the decision and accuse the government of causing confusion.
Willie Walsh, the director-general of the International Air Transport Association 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 government announcement means that travellers returning back from France in the previous 10 days will have to self-isolate on arrival back to England and will also have to take a Covid test on day two and day eight, regardless of whether they have been fully vaccinated.
However, an exception to this is Eurostar passengers on services travelling through France will not need to self-isolate if their train did not stop in the country, according to the BBC.
In France, the rules for UK travellers who are not fully vaccinated are that they need to present a negative test in the 24 hours before arrival as of Sunday, July 18, rather than the 48 hours that was previously accepted.
However, confusingly, those people fully vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson will not need to present a negative test.
French MEP Veronique Trillet-Lenoir told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it was “difficult to understand” the UK rules, as the Beta variant is “not present at all” in mainland France.
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