The UK has reimposed a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from France after the country recorded a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases.
From Saturday at 4 a.m. GMT, anyone arriving in the UK from France will have to self-isolate for two weeks or risk being fined up to $1,200.
The decision was made after the French Health Ministry reported 2,669 new coronavirus infections in just one day.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps discussed the news during an interview on BBC Breakfast on Friday.
“We’ve worked so hard in this country to get our level of infections down, the last thing we want do is to have people returning and bringing the infection with them. It’s to protect everybody,” he said.
According to Shapps, there are around 160,000 British holidaymakers currently in France who’ll be affected by the decision.
Many will now be scrambling to make it back home before the deadline in a bid to avoid the mandatory quarantine.
The move was officially announced late on Thursday night by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. However, rumors of the rule change have been growing for days due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in France.
A senior government source told CNN on Thursday morning that Johnson was contemplating bringing the announcement forward from Friday to Thursday, reportedly asking advisers “what’s the difference” if the announcement came a day earlier.
France’s Minister of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune has responded to the news, tweeting that the UK’s decision is a matter of “regret” for the country.
The Netherlands, Malta, Monaco, Turks & Caicos and Aruba have also been taken off.
Meanwhile thousands of travelers from the UK were holidaying in Spain when it was removed from the list at the end of July after concerns the country was experiencing a “second wave” of coronavirus.
Up until the UK issued its approved list of countries in July, all arrivals were required to go into quarantine for two weeks.
The destinations included are made up of those that propose “a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens,” according to the UK Department for Transport.