RISHI Sunak today refused to rule out France being added to coronavirus quarantine list and warns of "disruption" for travellers to come.
The Chancellor delivered a stark warning when he was asked if other countries may be deemed unsafe to travel to in the future, and whether people may be forced to isolate for 14 days when coming back from France next.
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There are fears that the country, popular for holidays and getaways with millions of Brits, could be next on the list after infections started to rise there.
The Chancellor told holidaymakers "there is always the risk of disruption" during the pandemic when asked whether France may be the next nation to face new rules.
He told Sky News in a grim warning: "It's a tricky situation. What I can say to people is we're in the midst of a global pandemic and that means there is always the risk of disruption to travel plans and people need to bear that in mind.
"It's the right thing for us to do to keep everything under review on a constant basis talking with our scientists, our medical advisers,.
"If we need to take action as you've seen overnight, we will of course not hesitate to do that, and we're doing that to protect people's health."
Government sources said no changes were imminent but France was being "closely monitored" along with several other nations with rising case numbers.
It came as:
- Families urged Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to make a decision before thousands of them go on holiday and risk quarantine.
- Quarantine rules were announced for passengers coming back from Belgium, Andorra and The Bahamas from the weekend
- Rishi Sunak refused to extend the furlough scheme beyond October and said it had to end
Matt Richards wrote on Twitter today: "Yes, a potential quarantine for me and my wife is not the end of the world.
"But 14 days quarantine would mean my children would miss the first week back at school and they've been off since March."
Rachel Arnold, of Cheshire, said: "We want to go to France next week, Charente area, low Covid. Staying at a secluded house, no one else there.
"Thinking now not to go as 'threat' of quarantine looming. Ironically can't afford to do a ten-day holiday here."
List of countries where you don't have to quarantine on your return
Antigua and Barbuda
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
St Kitts and Nevis
St Pierre and Miquelon
Trinidad and Tobago
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Quarantine measures were announced on Thursday evening for travellers arriving into the UK from Belgium, Andorra and The Bahamas – with Britons advised against all but essential travel to the three countries.
The restrictions – which mean those arriving will have to self-isolate for 14 days – came into force at midnight in Wales, with the same rules applying in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 4am on Saturday.
The French health authority – Sante Publique France – reported cases of Covid-19 are up by a third (33%) in the week to August 6, and infection rates are increasing in all age groups, particularly 20 to 30-year-olds.
In the past 24 hours alone, the country has reported 1,695 new coronavirus infections — the highest daily increase for two months.
It's health ministry said: "The situation is precarious.
"We could at any moment tip into a scenario that is less under control, like in Spain.
"It is highly likely that we will experience a second epidemic wave this autumn or winter."
Paul Charles, the boss of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: "Unless France takes further significant steps to reduce its case numbers, then it's highly likely to be added later next week as the increase must be causing worries in Westminster."
The Chancellor also refused to budge and extend the furlough scheme again – as employers have to start paying towards it from next month.
He said winding down the furlough scheme supporting jobs during the coronavirus crisis is "one of the most difficult decisions" he has made as Chancellor.
And he added:"I don't think it's fair to extend this indefinitely, it's not fair to the people on it. We shouldn't pretend there is in every case a job to go back to.
"This is what we need to do now, it's to look forward, provide the opportunities for tomorrow. Yes, there is hardship ahead for many people, we know that, but they shouldn't be left without hope."
More than 9 million people have had their wages paid by the taxpayer during the pandemic as part of efforts to keep the economy afloat and save jobs.
The Chancellor will give firms a £1000 bonus if they keep staff on until January.
But still more than 100,000 people have lost their jobs so far, with predictions that 2.6million could go.
Yesterday Boris Johnson urged Brits to go back to their offices if they could, or more would be lost.
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