COVID-19: Ministers to decide if France will be moved to red travel list within days
Discussions over whether to put France on the red travel list are active in Whitehall amid pressure to make a definitive decision within days.
Some health figures are understood are pushing to make the change, which would mean everyone returning from France having to pay thousands of pounds for mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine on return.
However ministers have previously been reluctant to impose too much disruption over the UK-French border because it is such a critical juncture for trade and travel.
Negotiations are ongoing, and a positive decision to put France on the red list would require cross-government ministerial agreement.
Sources have told Sky News that a decision needs to be made within days and before the end of the school term which finishes for most English state school pupils next Friday.
If a decision is made after this point, there may not be enough hotel room capacity to deal with the numbers needing to complete mandatory quarantine on their return.
Case rates in France are far lower than in the United Kingdom, although they are rising.
According to Our World In Data, in the week to 14 July there were 244,691 UK COVID cases, while in France over the same period there were 27,713 cases.
France has 44% Alpha variant cases – more than any other type – followed by Delta accounting for 28% of cases. Almost all cases in the UK are Delta.
A Downing Street spokesman said they are continually monitoring the situation.
On Thursday, it was announced that the Balearic Islands, which include the tourist hotspots of Ibiza, Majorca and Minorca, will be moved back to the amber travel list from 4am on Monday.
On the same day the rules around travel change, meaning people who are fully vaccinated and under-18s will not have to isolate after returning from countries on the amber list.
Although, they will still have to take a test three days before returning and have a PCR test on day two back in the UK – but not on day eight.
The move for the Balearic Islands will mainly impact younger adults, as they are more likely to not have received two COVID-19 vaccinations.
People arriving in the UK from green list countries do not have to quarantine but do have to take a private PCR test two days after they return.
However, some holiday destinations have their own quarantine rules so travellers may have to self-isolate on arrival even if they do not in the UK.
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