France will no longer be exempted from Britain’s 14-day quarantine strategy for arrivals – but business travellers could be spared from going into isolation.
The UK Government had initially said on Sunday it would force anyone flying into Britain to remain in isolation for 14 days in a bid to stop new coronavirus infections.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson then spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron to agree a mutual exemption from the measures for tourists from both countries.
However, the UK has now ended proposals for a blanket exemption for France – and is instead looking to spare a limited number of people from the restrictions.
One Whitehall source told the Daily Telegraph: ‘The French don’t want a blanket exemption, only freight and business travel.
‘You have to remember there are multinational firms in Europe that are testing every single one of their workers for coronavirus two times a week.’
Plans to announce the now proposals have been postponed from today until next week as officials on both sides of the Channel try to confirm the details.
Earlier this week British tourists were told they would be able to enjoy holidays in France this summer after they were exempted from the quarantine rules.
But the European Union then warned the UK that it faced huge lawsuits in the European Court of Justice if only France was granted an exemption.
The UK has said all international travellers – apart from those in the common travel area including Ireland and the Channel Islands – will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
Those arriving in the country will be told to supply their contact and accommodation details – and also be strongly urged to use the new NHS contact tracing app.
The authorities will conduct spot checks, with punishments of up to £1,000 fines and deportation for those breaching the new rules.
UK airlines have threatened to ground their fleets over the quarantine scheme amid fears it would effectively kill off any hopes of a resumption of global travel.
The Airport Operators Association, representing Britain’s airports, said it would have a ‘devastating impact’ on the industry.
Pilots’ union Balpa has questioned the ‘scientific basis’ for the quarantine rules and warned the industry would in a ‘death spiral’ without government support.
But the Government said it was supporting airlines through the furlough scheme – which is now in place until the end of October – and flexibility with tax bills.
Meanwhile France will impose quarantine on travellers arriving from Spain in a reciprocal measure after Madrid decided to restrict arrivals from Europe.
From today, Spain will impose a 14-day quarantine period on all travellers to avoid importing new virus cases.
France currently has restrictions on its borders with Schengen, EU countries and the UK – and has proscribed travel to and from non-European countries.
But the French government is hoping to gradually reopen France’s borders ahead of the summer, with June 15 a possible date for deciding on an initial relaxation.