Boris Johnson has been accused of ‘punishing’ the French over migrants by introducing measures to quarantine tourists who have been holidaying in France for 14 days.
Travellers arriving from France after 4am on Saturday will be required to quarantine for 14 days due to fears over rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the country.
The move came after Boris Johnson said ministers would be ‘absolutely ruthless’ in deciding on whether to impose the self-isolation requirement.
The decision to add France will cause dismay for thousands of British holidaymakers currently in the country.
The move will also come as a bitter blow to the hard-pressed French tourism industry which relies heavily on visitors from the UK.
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The Foreign Office updated its advice to warn against all but essential travel to the country because of the coronavirus risk.
Before the announcement was made, Johnson said: ‘We have got to be absolutely ruthless about this, even with our closest and dearest friends and partners.
‘I think everybody understands that.’
He said the government could not allow the UK’s population to be ‘reinfected or the disease to come back in’.
‘That is why the quarantine measures are very important and we have to apply them in a very strict way,’ he said during a visit to Belfast.
France’s secretary of state for European affairs said the UK decision would lead to ‘reciprocal measures’ across the Channel.
Clement Beaune tweeted: ‘A British decision which we regret and which will lead to reciprocal measures, all in hoping for a return for normal as soon as possible.’
Twitter users accused the prime minister of introducing the measures as punishment for allowing numbers of asylum seekers and migrants to cross the English Channel.
Paul Nelson wrote: ‘Blunt instrument method to deal with a ‘refugee crisis’ or a pathetic anti-French gesture to punish lack of cooperation on border control?’
‘The France quarantine is definitely tactical… all to do with migrants crossing over,’ noted @YoungandElusive.
‘Boris Johnson would like it known that the new quarantine rules have NOTHING AT ALL TO DO with the recent issues over migrants in the Channel,’ said Stephen Moss.
‘They’ve put France on the quarantine list so they can arrest and imprison migrants for not isolating when they ‘get here’, haven’t they?’, asked @gwared. ‘Fash Island wins again.’
‘Payback for not kowtowing to Priti Prattle Patel’s rants about migrants?’ wondered Phillipa Rees. ‘I hope Macron ignores the clowns and does not impose ‘tit for tat’ quarantine’.
‘It’s about Brexit and that’s on both sides,’ suggested @pjc73. ‘Certainly the Spain quarantine was. The migrants issue is both sides playing games with peoples lives.’
‘They threw migrants in dinghies at us to distract from the GDP, and it worked,’ commented Tom Hadwin. ‘Now they’ve thrown a French quarantine at us to distract from A-Level results, and it will work. What dead cat will they prepare for GCSE results day next week?’