BORIS Johnson warned tonight he would be “ruthless” on making quarantine decisions for countries such as France – as anxious Brits waited to hear whether they would be made to isolate for two weeks when they return.
Hundreds of thousands of British tourists in France will find out within hours if they need to quarantine when they return after a surge in coronavirus cases.
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Ministers are meeting today to decide whether to remove half a dozen countries from quarantine-free travel corridors and France has been labelled “on the brink” of being included.
A decision is expected to be announced today or tomorrow.
Boris said this afternoon while on a trip to Northern Ireland: “We have got to be absolutely ruthless about this, even with our closest and dearest friends and partners. I think everybody understands that.
“We will be looking at the data a bit later on this afternoon – looking exactly where France and other countries are getting to.
“We can’t be remotely complacent about our own situation. Everybody understands that in a pandemic you don’t allow our population to be reinfected or the disease to come back in.
“That is why the quarantine measures are very important and we have to apply them in very strict way.”
The French health ministry reported 2,669 new cases today, after 2,524 new on Wednesday – the country’s highest levels since lockdown.
But pulling France’s quarantine-free status will throw the holiday plans of up to 400,000 Brits into disarray.
If France is put on the unsafe list it will cause a desperate scramble for Brits to return to try and avoid the two week indoor quarantine.
And a string of getaway destinations including Malta, Monaco, Holland and Gibraltar are now likely to be added to a list of nations requiring visitors to isolate too.
France’s infection rate over 14 days is 30.3 per 100,000 – lower than the 37 per 100,000 that saw Spain removed from the list of safe nations urgently last month.
But a travel source said: “The idea of getting people returning from France into quarantine is politically too difficult – that’s why it may stay off for now.
“It would be very unpopular, perhaps more so than Spain, and that maybe that is what is driving Downing Street at the moment.
“There is also a suggestion France would be reciprocal measures, and with the migrant crisis in the Channel another diplomatic row may well be avoided until the end of the summer.”
Health secretary Matt Hancock has previously warned that officials are looking at other countries “all of the time” and that the quarantine list is liable to change quickly.