France adds mandatory 7 day quarantine for UK arrivals
Summer travel continues to be complicated for British travellers during the pandemic.
France is the latest nation to impose travel restrictions, implementing a seven-day quarantine period for anyone arriving from the U.K. The mandatory quarantine requirement begins from 31 May.
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This means that British travellers planning a visit to France right now will have to quarantine when they arrive there and when they return home to the U.K. because France is on the U.K. Government’s amber list. France had originally planned to allow fully vaccinated travellers from the UK – or those who had tested negative for COVID – to visit from 9 June.
This latest news comes as two other countries on the amber list announced new crackdowns on arrivals from the United Kingdom this week. Austria announced a ban on all incoming direct flights from the U.K. and Germany imposed its own bans and quarantine regulations on U.K. travellers.
European countries are concerned about the potential spread of the so-called Indian COVID variant. Last week, cases involving the B.1.617.2 variant jumped by more than 50 percent. It’s considered much more dangerous and “more transmittable” than the Kent variant that was responsible for an outbreak of deadly coronavirus infections during winter, England’s chief medical officer told the BBC.
“We expect, over time, this variant to overtake and come to dominate in the U.K.,” said professor Chris Witty.
A new study this week did offer some optimism. It showed that the two-dose Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines protects against the Indian variant as effectively as it did against the Kent strain. However, protection after a first dose was lower with the Indian variant compared to the Kent variant. Having just a single dose offered only 33% effectiveness versus the Indian variant, compared to 50% effectiveness against the Kent strain.
Travellers anxious to plan summer getaways still have reason to hope for an ease on restrictions. The European Union has agreed on a QR code-based digital travel certificate to allow travel across the bloc’s 27 nations for people who are fully vaccinated, have proof they recently tested COVID negative, or have recovered from an infection.
That program is expected to launch by July.
Featured image by Tuul & Bruno Morangi/Getty Images
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