Banning British holidaymakers is pointless, says French government’s scientist

·2-min read
Banning British holidaymakers is pointless, says French government’s scientist (PA Archive)
Banning British holidaymakers is pointless, says French government’s scientist (PA Archive)

Britons should not be banned from summer holidaying in France, one of the country’s leading experts has said.

Professor Jean Francois Delfraissy, one of President Emmanuel Macron’s top scientific advisers, spoke out against plans to put UK nationals on a new travel red list and keeping them out.

Speaking out, he said it is already “too late” to block the Delta variant.

The professor, who is head of the French government’s Covid-19 Scientific Council, told France Inter radio: “It’s already too late. The Indian variant is already present in France.

“We must not panic but we must be realistic and aware.”

EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel have expressed their concerns at the number of cases in the UK and have called for tougher restrictions on British travellers.

Initially this move was backed by Mr Macron, because Delta represents some 20 per cent of new cases in France, and the proportion is likely to be above 50 per cent by August.

Professor Delfraissy said he thinks a fourth Coronavirus wave is now inevitable in France, whether the British are allowed in or not.

The UK is currently listed as an orange country by France, meaning that Britons are allowed in with no restrictions if they are fully vaccinated and have a negative Antigen or PCR test result.

Travellers returning from France to the UK must quarantine for ten days, under the UK’s amber list rules for foreign travel.

This has opened the way for hundreds of thousands of Britons to holiday in France this summer.

Putting Britain on a red list will mean the British will have to have a compelling reason for entering France and they will also need to undergo a period of isolation.

Despite Delta, the coronavirus pandemic is in retreat in France with just 18.5 cases per 100,000 people reported over the past week.

This compares to 500 at the height of the second wave at the end of last year.

“The very low figures are falsely reassuring,” Prof Delfraissy said. “We had broadly comparable figures in June 2020, and yet we saw the second wave arrive in September.

“I think we will have a fourth wave, but it will be much more moderate than the previous three waves because the level of vaccinations is different compared to before.”

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