France has been singled out because of the British government’s concerns about the constant presence of the Beta variant of the coronavirus, but French officials said most of the cases come from the overseas island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk
France said on Thursday that it did not understand why it was exempted from the new rule which allows fully vaccinated European Union citizens to enter England without quarantine.
From next week, passengers who have received vaccines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration or the European Medicines Agency will be able to travel from any country that has been on the British government’s orange list without the need for self-isolation for 10 days, it announced on Wednesday the British government.
Arrivals from France are the only exception.
“This decision is discriminatory towards the French. It is excessive and makes no sense in the context of health policy,” French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told the LCI TV channel, adding that it has no foundation in science.
France has been singled out because of the British government’s concerns about the constant presence of the Beta variant of the coronavirus, which is believed to be more resistant to vaccines.
But French officials say most of the cases come from the overseas island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean.
Speaking to BBC Today, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made clear that France was on the amber plus list and this was the government’s policy.
“The announcement in relation to double vaccinations from Europe will not apply to them. There’s an exemption for them specifically,” he told BBC.
“Obviously the evidence presented on which the original decision was taken was based on the prevalence of the so-called Beta variant, in particular in the Réunion bit of France which of course is away from the mainland.”
The island is 5,800 miles from Paris. But Raab said that was irrelevant. “It’s not the distance that matters, it’s the ease of travel between different component parts of any individual country,” he said.
Britain will review the status of passengers from France at the end of next week.
French officials have complained about British travel restrictions for France.
“We should have kept reciprocity as a trump card up our sleeve at the European level. Maybe Europe, in general, should have been tougher in the negotiations,” Minister Beaune said.
France on Wednesday reported just under 28,000 new Covid cases in the previous 24 hours and 40 new virus deaths. According to the health authorities, 111,768 people died as a result of Covid-19 in France, AFP reports.
Health pass from Aug 9
A new law in France extending the use of a health pass to a wider range of public places will enter into force on August 9 to help the country battle with the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said.
“The health pass is a small tool that can save many lives. It is the best way to protect our freedom and ensure that our country remains open,” Attal told the press on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting.
Under the law, only people who have completed their vaccination, tested negative or recently recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed to enter restaurants and cafes, and go to shopping centres, gyms and even hospitals except for emergencies, reports Xinhua news agency.
The use of the health pass has been compulsory since July 21 in cultural and leisure venues (cinemas, museums, etc.) where more than 50 people gather.
“Thanks to the vaccine we will be able to avoid a strong rush to hospitals in August,” Attal said.
Warning that “the sanitary situation continues to worsen and remains worrying” ,he urged his hesitating compatriots to get vaccinated.
To date, 50.5 per cent of the French population, or 34 million people, have completed their vaccination against Covid-19. (ANI/FENA/IANS)