France’s hopes of being removed from the amber plus category could depend on the number of beta variant cases on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab denied the original decision to place France on the new amber plus list earlier this month was a mistake.
France was suddenly moved to this new category, which requires everybody to quarantine for 10 days on return to the UK regardless of vaccination status, on 16 July.
Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The evidence presented on which the original decision was taken was based on the prevalence of the so-called beta variant, in particular in the Reunion bit of France, which of course is away from the mainland.
“It’s not the distance that matters, it’s the ease of travel between different components of any individual country.”
Reunion is a French department located in the Indian Ocean around 5,700 miles away from mainland France. Reunion itself remains on the amber list so the UK government restrictions only apply to travellers coming from mainland France.
Raab also confirmed that the announcement that fully vaccinated people from EU countries would no longer have to quarantine on arrival in the UK from next week would not apply to France while it remained on the amber plus list.
“The announcement in relation to double vaccinations from Europe will not apply to them,” said Raab. “There’s an exemption for them specifically.”
Raab added that the status of countries, including France, within the traffic light system would be reviewed next week.