Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced Thursday evening the UK would be imminently imposing a 14-day quarantine on travellers from a number of destinations including Malta and France.
Also included on the new quarantine list are the Netherlands, Monaco, Turks and Caicos, and Aruba.
The Foreign Office has also released new advice this evening stating that it recommends “against all but essential travel” to France, Malta and The Netherlands due to the current COVID-19 risks.
The announcement means that people currently abroad in the countries listed will need to self-isolate upon returning to the UK after 4am on Saturday morning. Arrivals before this cut off point will not be affected by the new rules.
After numerous reports suggesting a new travel restriction was likely to be announced this week, the sudden addition of France to the list came as a surprise, giving thousands of British citizens just over 24 hours to get home, or plan for self-isolation when returning.
The decision to impose the new rules was taken after several days of deliberation and review of the increasing numbers of infections in several European countries.
The new quarantine will likely have an economic impact on the UK’s travel sector as well as top tourist destinations for British tourists, already reeling from the lockdown.
Earlier today, figures released showed that coronavirus cases had jumped to over 2,500 in France over the past 24 hours while Malta, The Netherlands as well as Turks and Caicos saw sharp rises of up to 273% in new infections.
Taking a hardline stance, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he would be “absolutely ruthless” in regards to imposing new rules, even with close allies and neighbouring EU countries. Following criticism that the government acted too slowly to impose the lockdown, the UK is now stepping up its readiness as it seeks to reduce imported cases and tighten its ‘air bridges’ with other European nations.
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