Macron savaged for shutting nation to Brits without warning ‘Closes door as horse bolted’

France: Omicron travel restrictions discussed by McCann

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Sky News Political correspondent Kate McCann said that the UK may just be getting a taste of their own South African medicine after France made the decision to ban all non-essential journeys to and from Britain. The French government released in a statement that travellers would require to demonstrate that they have an essential reason “to travel to, or come from, the UK, both for the unvaccinated and vaccinated”  as people are not allowed “to travel for tourism or professional reasons” in an attempt to reduce the risks of a similar tsunami of infections. Only 170 positive cases of the new Omicron variant have so far been reported on French territory compared to at least 10,000 on British soil.  

While the new travel restrictions are comprehensible, it has sparked fury in either country with French president Emmanuel Macron having been blasted for what was deemed an unpopular by people from either side of the Channel.

But Ms McCann emphasised that all France have done is to introduce almost exactly the same measures as Britain did with South Africa three weeks ago.

The only exception is that France-bound travellers from the UK do not require to isolate in expensive, government-approved hotels for 10 days and Britain have not been red listed.

Speaking to Sky News she revealed that South Africa felt hard done by the UK’s decision to add them to the red list on November 25.

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Britain only yesterday decided to lift the ban and scrap the obligation to stay in hotels.

She said: “I think there will be some questions raised about that.

“We know, looking back over the course of the last couple of weeks that the UK’s own reaction to South Africa was very much to shutdown travel, to red list those countries where Omicron cases were coming in from and to force people into isolation in hotels.

 “It was a very unpopular decision. The South African government has expressed real indignation at the fact the UK did that.

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“Largely they say that there were cases picked up in Europe before they were officially picked up in South Africa.

“And this is the Prime Minister’s point, he was actually asked about it this morning and the answer that he gave reference to the fact that things are now very different.

“The UK has removed red list, made the decision that you cannot stop it from coming in anymore this new variant. It is widely circulating and trying to do so is pretty daft essentially. [The Omicron variant] needs to be managed in the community.”

But she questioned the timing of France’s decision to close its borders to UK travellers, stressing that three weeks into the Omicron crisis and after the high volume of journeys between the two countries, the damage could already have been done.

She said: “The fact that France has now imposed a travel ban when Omicron will be on the continent and people will already have it, it does seem like closing the door when the horses already bolted. But clearly everybody is worried about it.

“The French are looking at what is happening here, seeing it and desperately trying to take measures that will prevent it from getting worse.”

French citizens and EU nationals are still allowed to return to France from the UK provided that they present a negative PCR test that is not older than 24 hours and have a valid reason to travel.

 

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