The French government is set to unveil extra restrictions for passengers coming from the U.K. to fend off the coronavirus variant first identified in India.
France will request mandatory isolation for all passengers arriving from across the Channel, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting.
At the moment, people from the U.K. arriving in France don’t need to justify the reason for their trip, but they must show a negative Covid test and commit to self-isolate for a week, even if they’ve been vaccinated. Under new measures, such travelers could be required to self-isolate for 10 days and subject to controls at hotels or homes, and fines.
The tougher restrictions could affect the already-struggling operations of the
Eurostar International Ltd. high-speed rail service, which shareholders including France have rescued, as well as airlines.
Willie Walsh, the head of the International Air Transport Association lobby group, said the extra curbs were a “political reaction not to data, but to anecdote” that risk deterring passengers from flying.
“Now is the time for a calm response based on data and risk assessment, rather than a knee-jerk reaction to headlines in the newspapers,” Walsh told Bloomberg.
The U.K. has tried to persuade France fresh restrictions aren’t needed, pointing to its high vaccination rate. Walsh agreed, saying “The level of risk we’re having to manage is very very small.”
(Adds IATA reaction in the last three paragraphs.)