The end of the compulsory quarantine for vaccinated English residents returning from countries on London’s “amber” list “will not apply to France following the persistent presence of cases in France of the Beta variant of Covid-19 first detected in South Africa, the Department of Health said in a statement on Friday.
This change affects only UK residents planning holidays in France – UK nationals who live abroad still face a quarantine because the UK government refuses to recognise any vaccines that are not administered by the NHS.
The Delta variant, which was first discovered in India, has rapidly become dominant in most parts of France as it did in the UK. It is reported to be responsible for around 70 percent of cases.
However the Beta variant is reported to be responsible for between 5 and 10 percent of France’s average 5,000 daily Covid-19 cases. According to the French government’s app the percentage of Beta cases has even been reducing in recent weeks.
Réunion island, in the Indian Ocean, is the only part of France where the Beta variant is dominant and is responsible for most of the country’s cases – the island is around 9,000km away from mainland France.
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The suggestion is fears over the beta (South African) variant in France, but this graph from the excellent @GuillaumeRozier shows that 67% of cases in France are the delta variant, while all other variants (including beta and alpha or UK variant) make up 32% and show no rise pic.twitter.com/h7yPI802UJ
— Emma Pearson (@LocalFR_Emma) July 16, 2021
The UK is currently averaging around 37,000 daily Covid-19 cases.
From Monday, July 19th, those arriving int the UK from countries on the amber list, no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. But France is the exception to this rule.
But “anyone who has been in France in the last ten days will need to quarantine on arrival to England in their own accommodation and will need a Day 2 and Day 8 test, regardless of their vaccination status,” the health ministry said.
Health policy in other UK nations Scotland and Wales is set by their own devolved governments.
“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,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid said in the statement.
Britain is one of the countries hit worst by Covid-19 across Europe, with more than 128,500 deaths.
On Friday, the number of new daily cases hit its highest level since January at over 50,000 – but the figures have not turned Prime Minister Boris Johnson aside from his July 19th deadline to lift restrictions including mask-wearing and social distancing.
France has recently announced that fully vaccinated arrivals from the UK will not need to show a negative Covid test in addition to proof of vaccination.
The British NHS app is now compatible with the French health passport app and can be used to access ‘health passport’ venues, and France has also agreed to recognise AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine.
On Thursday, British junior health minister Nadhim Zahawi announced that “from the end of the month” UK nationals who had been vaccinated abroad could register their vaccine certificates with their GP and get an NHS certificate.
However, this must be done in person in the UK and applies only to those still registered with a British GP.
He said: “Ultimately, there will be a co-ordination between the World Health Organisation, ourselves, the European regulator, the US regulator and other regulators around the world.
“Because we are working at speed, at the moment it is UK nationals and citizens who have had UK vaccinations who will be able to travel to amber list countries other than France and come back and not quarantine. We want to offer the same reciprocity as the 33 countries that recognise our app, and that will also happen very soon.”
To keep up with the rapidly-changing health rules, head to our Travelling to France section.