France travel: UK criticised over 'inconsistent' rules by MEP
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Clement Beaune, a junior European affairs minister, has branded the UK Government “excessive” after France was placed under a unique set of travel restrictions. Passengers returning to the UK from France now need to self-isolate for up to 10 days – even if they are double-vaccinated.
Speaking to France’s BFM TV, Mr Beaune said: “We don’t think that the United Kingdom’s decisions are totally based on scientific foundations.
“We find them excessive.”
From today, adults who have been double-jabbed in the UK arriving from amber list countries will not need to isolate for 10 days.
France is on amber list, but the new isolation rules does not apply, amid concerns over rising cases of the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa.
The Beta variant accounts for about 10 percent of new infections in France.
But, French authorities argue the majority Beta variant infections come from the overseas territories of La Reunion and Mayotte, rather than mainland France.
French MEP Veronique Trillet-Lenoir told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it was “difficult to understand” the UK rules.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid defended travel changes, he said: “We have always been clear that we will not hesitate to take rapid action at our borders to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the gains made by our successful vaccination programme.
“With restrictions lifting on Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure international travel is conducted as safely as possible, and protect our borders from the threat of variants.”
Professor John Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, insisted the Beta variant was “less infections” than the Delta or Indian variant.
However, he acknowledged the South African strain could “evade the immune response generated by the AstraZeneca vaccine”.
Professor Edmunds said: “The Beta variant has remained a threat throughout. It is probably less infectious than the Delta variant that is spreading here in the UK at the moment.
“Where it has an advantage is that it is able to escape the immune response to a better extent.”
He added: “As the population here becomes more and more immune, the conditions are right then for the Beta variant to get an advantage, so I can understand the concern.
“Of the variants that are out there and are known about, that one has always been a threat to us.
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“There is some good evidence from South Africa that it can evade the immune response generated by the AstraZeneca vaccine more efficiently.”
The updated travel list has also moved the popular Spanish islands of Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca to amber.
Bulgaria and Hong Kong have been added to the green list – meaning there is no requirement to isolate on return.
Meanwhile, Croatia and Taiwan have been added to the “green watchlist” meaning they are at risk of going amber.
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