The outcry grows over the “amber plus” decision in France
After the government’s sudden turnaround for arrivals from France, accusations are mounting that the decision to maintain mandatory quarantine was based on a misinterpretation of health data.
On Friday evening, the government announced that fears over the beta variant meant that France would be excluded from opening “orange list” destinations to vaccinated travelers, which takes effect at 4 a.m. on Monday.
But French MEP and doctor VÃ©ronique Trillet-Lenoir told the BBC Today that the variant, originally identified in South Africa, was of concern only on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean – a French overseas department.
“It is not at all present in France, in mainland France,” she said.
“The variant is located in Reunion, which is an island in the Indian Ocean both far removed from France and England.”
The independent asked the Department of Health and Social Affairs for a response to its comments and the scientific data behind the about-face.
As part of the government announcement on Friday evening, the Director General of the Health Security Agency, Dr Jenny Harries, said: âAs we relax the restrictions and start to return to normal life, it is more. vital than ever to listen to the data. and act decisively when it changes.
âAs vaccines help us turn the tide against this virus, we must continue to proceed with caution. This means maintaining our defenses against new variants and protecting our hard-earned progress through the exceptional rollout of vaccination. ”
Data analyst Donal Kane called the move ‘bananas’ and said:’ What they could have done would have been to apply the rules to certain French overseas territories only.
“The general rule for all of France is just plain stupid and risks imposing retaliatory rules by the French.”
This decision has raised fears that other European countries will soon be transferred to the new âamber plusâ category, triggering the obligation to self-isolate.
Coronavirus data expert Tim White said: “I think anyone traveling to a high-incidence country should now think that a 10-day quarantine may well be re-imposed on them in the short term, even if it does. is doubled. “
Ben Bradshaw of Labor, member of the Special Committee on Transport, tweeted: âWhat a total, total mess!
“Recommend to anyone who wants and can: Get out now, before Johnson and his unnecessary cronies make it impossible to leave the UK, the country with the highest Covid-19 rates in Europe, thanks to the Johnson variant . “
Julia Lo Bue-Said, Managing Director of Advantage Travel Partnership, responded: âThis is how we all feel. But useless buddies will remain useless buddies, making the life of those who want and need to travel a misery. “
The move leaves the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers in ruins. Barbara Emmerton and her husband have been booked to visit friends in Bergerac in southwest France – with flights, airport parking and three rounds of Covid tests already prepaid.
She said The independent: âSo completely emptied. I’m not sure if I can get the quarantine time from work now. ”