Sajid Javid urged to let Brits fly double-punched to France without quarantine – as business leaders and politicians call restrictions ‘ridiculous’
- Sajid Javid was under pressure to turn to ban France amber-plus
- French and British politicians and tourism leaders called the move ‘ridiculous’
- It came as numbers suggest that beta rates have fallen in France
Sajid Javid was under mounting pressure last night to move to ban France from quarantine-free travel for the completely stung.
French and British politicians, as well as tourism and business leaders lined up to label the move “ridiculous” and called on the health minister and his cabinet colleagues to reverse the decision.
It came as numbers suggest that rates for beta variants have fallen in France and are rising in Spain and Greece.
But France was singled out and moved to an ‘amber plus’ category on Monday, with ministers expressing concerns about the beta variant’s prevalence there.
It means that holidaymakers returning from France with double punches will have to quarantine for up to ten days. Fully vaccinated travelers from the more than 140 other amber countries can bypass quarantine.
Sajid Javid was under mounting pressure last night to move to ban France from quarantine-free travel for the completely stung. Pictured: Beach near the city of Nice, Cote d’Azur, France)
Alexandre Holroyd, a French MP from President Emmanuel Macron’s party, said Paris was still reeling from the decision.
He told the Mail: ‘Quarating fully vaccinated people is ridiculous and sends the wrong message.’
Loic Fery, a leading French business executive who regularly works in the UK, said the new rules were “incomprehensible, illogical” and “almost laughable” and called on British and French officials to “find a solution” as soon as possible.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, France registered about 465 cases of the beta variant during the most recent four-week period — about 7.6 percent of all new cases that were sequenced. In the four-week period before that, no fewer than 864 cases were registered, or 10 percent. In Spain, beta rates have risen, peaking in the most recent seven-day period, when it accounted for more than 20 percent of new cases.
The same pattern holds for Greece, where beta cases represented an average of 7.7 percent of all new infections for the most recent four-week period, up 0.4 percent. Labor’s Ben Bradshaw, who is on the transport committee, said: ‘Putting France on the orange plus list was absolutely ridiculous and the government should reverse this immediately.’
French and British politicians, as well as tourism and business leaders lined up to label the move “ridiculous” and called on the health minister (pictured) and his cabinet colleagues to reverse the decision
Industry bosses are forecasting the busiest weekend yet for overseas travel this year, with hundreds of thousands of tired families looking to lock up as school holidays kick in.
According to flight data analysts Cirium, scheduled flights to Greece and Spain are at 95 percent and 66 percent of pre-pandemic levels. But flights to France will only operate at about 25 percent of pre-Covid levels.
British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said: ‘Our successful vaccination program – including effectiveness against variants – should have given us the confidence to get back in the air, but the goalposts are constantly shifting.’ Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2holidays, said: ‘The government has repeatedly said it will work with the travel industry, but the sudden emergence of a new category from scratch isn’t helping anyone.’
Henry Smith, chairman of the Future of Aviation group of MPs, said: “The government must act urgently to not only remove France from the orange plus category, but abolish the category altogether.” The Royal Statistical Society yesterday called on the health department to publish the data behind its decision.
It said: “Key policy decisions are still being announced, ostensibly based on data, but with no published evidence.”
A government spokesman said: “The Joint Biosecurity Center has ruled France a high-risk Covid-19 destination due to the spread of variants of concern.”