The UK government abruptly reimposed quarantine rules on travellers returning to England from France days before it was due to ease the restrictions for most of Europe, drawing immediate anger from tourism bodies and airlines.
Citing concern about the spread of the beta variant of the virus, UK ordered that anyone arriving after Monday from across the Channel will have to isolate at home for up to 10 days and will need at least two coronavirus tests after arrival even if they are vaccinated.
The new system, dubbed “Amber Plus” to draw a distinction from the government’s Amber list of restricted countries, will apply to all English travellers currently in France and also to travellers further afield who need to drive through France to return to
the UK, Spain and Italy — both major destinations for Britons — remain on the Amber list, which from Monday will no longer require the additional tests and quarantine.
The move adds a further level of complexity and expense for English families trying to plot their way through the summer after the end of a torrid school year. Taking the two tests, and the option of a third to break isolation early, will add hundreds of pounds to the cost of a trip to France.
“This announcement will undoubtedly dent consumer confidence in overseas travel just as we are about to see many amber-listed countries opening up,” travel agents’ and tour operators’ association ABTA said in a statement. “Continuing changes to travel restrictions will delay any meaningful recovery for the industry.”