France has been moved to a new “amber plus” category because of thepresence of Covid variants on an island 6,000 miles away, the foreign secretary has said.
Summer holiday trips across the Channel could be scuppered due to theprevalence of the Beta variant, which is much more prevalent on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean than it is in mainland France, the Independent has reported.
Speaking to BBC Today, Dominic Raab made clear this was the government’s policy. He said: “France is on the amber plus list.
“The announcement in relation to double vaccinations from Europe will not apply to them. There’s an exemption for them specifically.
“Obviously the evidence presented on which the original decision was taken was based on the prevalence of the so-called Beta variant, in particular in the Réunion bit of France which of course is away from the mainland.
“It’s not the distance that matters, it’s the ease of travel between different component parts of any individual country.”
Brittany Ferries tells me: “This is madness. It would be like France hammering British holidaymakers due to a Covid outbreak on the Falkland Islands.”— Simon Calder (@SimonCalder) July 29, 2021
The revelation will dismay holiday companies, train operators and airlines, because it means that infection developments in tropical locations such as the French Caribbean islands and Guyane in South America will directly affect rules for summer travel between the UK and France.
A spokesperson for Brittany Ferries said : “This is madness. It would be like France hammering British holidaymakers due to a Covid outbreak on the Falkland Islands.”
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy, The PC Agency, said: “I’ve never heard such utter rubbish. France should never have gone on the amber plus list anyway.
“If government policy is going to be based on islands 5,000 miles away, then the policy needs to be changed urgently.”