France now joins Spain and Belgium on the quarantine list, deterring trips there and causing new headaches for airlines and travel companies who had been banking on an August recovery.
Read more: Which countries are on the quarantine-free list?
Belgian hospitals are stockpiling drugs and protective kits and putting in place contingency plans amid a continuing spike in new infections that has forced the capital Brussels to make face masks compulsory in public spaces.
British transport minister Grant Shapps on Friday rejected the idea that travellers should receive compensation for having to quarantine on their return, even if it affected their ability to work, saying people knew the risks of travel.
“People this year will have gone away knowing that there was a significant risk, and because of that people will have gone with their eyes open,” Mr Shapps told BBC Radio, “France is heading in the wrong direction […] we have to act.”
“The last thing we want to do is have people returning and bringing the infection with them,” he said, adding that there were around 160,000 Brits due to return from France in the near future.
With more than 41,000 deaths caused by the COVID-19 disease, Britain is the worst-hit country in Europe and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been criticised over his handling of the crisis.
On Thursday, Mr Johnson said the Government would be “absolutely ruthless” with imposing the measures, even with “our closest and dearest partners”.
Airlines UK, the industry body representing British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair amongst others, said that a testing regime allowing people to avoid quarantine or quarantine rules which only covered the most affected regions, instead of whole countries, should be brought in instead.
“It’s another devastating blow to the travel industry already reeling from the worst crisis in its history,” Airlines UK CEO Tim Alderslade said.