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Andrew Neil told France they must “suck it up” and deal with the reimposition of a 14-day quarantine on all travellers returning to the UK from the EU member state. The British Government announced last Thursday all holidaymakers coming home from France would have to isolate amid a growing number of new coronavirus infections recorded across the country. Mr Neil told ITV This Morning: “There is no sign this quarantine is coming to an end so it’s difficult to get back to the United Kingdom.
“So far the French have not retaliated, I don’t think they’re going to retaliate. The French want British tourists here, they’re angry at what the British have done but I think they’re just going to have to suck it up.
“People are arriving here from the country, taking their chances – there’s still quite a few British tourists in the south of France.”
The announcement of the quarantine spurred thousands of Britons to rush to the border in a bid to avoid the quarantine before it came into effect on Saturday.
Travel businesses on both sides of the Channel have warned the requirement to isolate could add to the devastating threats the coronavirus pandemic already poses to the industry on the global level.
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Brittany Ferries, the largest passengers transport company offering passage between the UK and France, said the reimposition of the quarantine was a “sledgehammer blow” to its operations in the Channel.
Director-General Christophe Mathieu said the new rule add to the travel limitations the company had seen in imposed at the peak of the lockdown.
Mr Mathieu warned: “We already did not have enough passenger activity in the months of April, May or June.
“This weekend we were supposed to transport 5,400 passengers between England and France. Now, we will only transport 2,300.
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“Last year, for the same weekend, we transported 13,400. We thought that we would already be on 40% of the season [norm], but now the season will end with at least half of these reservations.”
Travel association Absta warned the reimposition of the 14-day isolation requirement would add to the severe job losses the travel and tourism industries suffered since March.
A spokesman for the association said: “The announcements relating to Spain and now France impact the two biggest destinations for British holidaymakers at the height of the summer season.
“At this time of recession, a plan is urgently needed to protect the 221,000 jobs the travel industry sustains.”
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Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Andorra and Monaco were also added once more to the quarantine list in July and August as the continent experiences a surge of cases.
Those found to be violating quarantine could be slapped with a £1,000 fine in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and up to £400 in Scotland.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Friday the Government had put those countries on the quarantine list after they recorded 20 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Mr Shapps said: “With France and these other countries, Netherlands and elsewhere, the numbers have now just gone above the threshold, which is about 20 cases per 100,000, but measured on a seven-day rolling average.”
Several other countries across Europe appear to be approaching the threshold Mr Shapps indicated, including Sweden, Poland, Denmakr and Cyprus.
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