French minister accuses UK of imposing 'discriminatory' and 'excessive' quarantine rules

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The UK government’s decision to keep quarantine measures for travellers coming from France while removing them for all other European countries is “discriminatory” and “excessive”, a French minister has said.

On Wednesday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed England would allow fully vaccinated visitors from both the EU and the United States to arrive without needing to quarantine from 2 August.

But he added that tougher rules will continue to be in place for France, which, although on the amber list, still requires travellers to quarantine on their return regardless of their vaccine status.

An Air France Airbus A350 airplane lands at the Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Roissy, near Paris, France April 2, 2021. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the measures will be reviewed next week

Mr Shapps said this advice would be reviewed at “the end of next week” as part of an ongoing assessment of travel rules.

But French Europe minister Clement Beaune described the move as “incomprehensible on health grounds” and accused the UK government of making decisions “not based on science”.

“It’s excessive, and it’s frankly incomprehensible on health grounds,” Mr Beaune told French TV channel LCI.

“It’s not based on science and [it’s] discriminatory towards the French.”

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Mr Beaune said the UK government should use “common sense” and review the matter “as quickly as possible”.

He added that the French government are not planning to place any increased measures on British citizens “for now”.

People wearing protective face masks as precaution against the conoravirus walk at Tocadero plaza near Eiffel Tower in Paris, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. France sees a substantial increase of Covid-19 cases. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Currently, only people who received their jabs in the UK can avoid quarantine when arriving from amber list countries, – but this also does not apply to France

UK ministers have said quarantine rules are being kept in place for travellers from France because of the prevalence of the Beta variant of coronavirus.

But French officials have strongly argued against the decision.

Currently, only people who received two vaccines in the UK can avoid quarantine when arriving from amber list countries.

The UK government said the rule change would help to reunite family and friends whose loved ones live abroad.

But this rule also does not apply to France.

Speaking to Kay Burley on Sky News on Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the government is “increasingly confident” that more countries will soon be added to the amber and green travel lists.

The foreign secretary said he believes opportunities for international travel can in the near future be opened up further and did not rule out the possibility of popular European holiday destinations moving to different categories in the moving government’s traffic light travel system at the next review point a week on Thursday.