France Says British Quarantine Rules for Travelers Are Unfair
The French government on Thursday accused Britain of applying new discriminatory rules that will lift quarantine requirements for most vaccinated travelers – but not for those arriving from France.
British authorities announced on Wednesday that from August, a quarantine would no longer be required for travelers from the United States or most of the European Union who had been vaccinated with vaccines authorized by American or European drug regulators. Travelers will still need a negative coronavirus test done shortly before travel and another on arrival.
The new rules do not apply to travelers from France, who will still have to self-isolate for up to 10 days after reaching Britain.
“It is excessive and frankly it is incomprehensible, from a health point of view,” said Clément Beaune, Minister for European Affairs, on the LCI channel.
“Sometimes in France we were in a difficult health situation, and we understood – even if we regretted it – that some of our neighbors were making difficult decisions about us,” said Beaune. But in this case, he added, “it is a decision which is not based on science and which is discriminatory”.
British authorities have said the presence of the beta variant of the coronavirus in France justified the decision. But Mr Beaune said less than 5% of new cases in France were attributable to this variant and most of them were not in mainland France but in the country’s overseas territories, like the Réunion and Martinique, where the pandemic has recently worsened, forcing authorities there to declare states of emergency or further closures.
Additionally, Beaune noted, there are far fewer trips to Britain from the French overseas territories than from the mainland.
Nevertheless, the virus has reappeared recently throughout France, even though around half of the population has been fully vaccinated. The average number of daily infections is around 20,000, and hospital admissions are also on the rise.
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