British travellers are set to face a mandatory quarantine on arrival in France as a result of concerns regarding the Indian variant of Covid-19.

Gabriel Attal, spokesman for the French government, said at a news conference today that France would introduce “compulsory isolation” for arrivals from the UK. He added that details including the start date of the policy would be introduced “in the coming hours”.

As it stands, travellers from the UK must present proof of a negative Covid-19 test to enter the country and self-isolate for a week, regardless of vaccination status. New measures might increase the self-isolation period to ten days.

France requires travellers from 16 countries including Brazil, India and Turkey to undergo ten days of self-isolation either at home or at an approved address, with fines of €1,500 if broken.

Germany has already implemented tougher restrictions on the UK, banning all arrivals from the UK due to the virus variant. Those exempt from the policy – German citizens, residents and their family members and people travelling for urgent humanitarian reasons – must quarantine for two weeks. Austria, too, has banned direct flights from the UK from June 1.

Willie Walsh, the head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) told Bloomberg:

“Now is the time for a calm response based on data and risk assessment, rather than a knee-jerk reaction to headlines in the newspaper”.

Last week, ambassadors from the European Union’s 27 member states backed plans to reopen their borders to countries with low infection rates. A ‘safe list’, featuring countries with a low risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus, was meant to be published on Friday but has been postponed due to growing concerns about the spread of the Indian variant.

France is currently on the UK government’s ‘amber’ list, meaning that travellers must undergo a ten-day quarantine upon arrival in the UK and take three PCR tests (a pre-departure PCR test and two post-arrival tests).

The UK government is set to review its ‘green’ list next week, however the news coming out of France today will be a blow to businesses such as Eurostar and Eurotunnel, as well as travellers who had planned to visit France in the coming months.