British holidaymakers in France could be spared quarantine for now despite a surge in coronavirus cases.
A review due to be completed today is expected to keep France on the list of countries that are exempted from the UK’s 14-day isolation rules.
However, the Netherlands and Malta are at risk of being taken off the roll call of safe destinations, as they have worse rates.
Speculation has been mounting about quarantine exemptions being scrapped as infections rise across much of Europe.
Hundreds of thousands of Britons are either on holiday in France or planning to go there, but yesterday it recorded more than 2,500 cases – a record since lockdown was eased.
The country appears to be perilously close to the yardstick of 20 cases per 100,000 population in a seven-day period.
But ministers are believed to be prepared to hold off on restrictions when changes are announced today, with the situation kept under close observation.
MailOnline understands that Malta and the Netherlands, which have higher prevalence, are more likely to be returned to the quarantine list – which already includes Spain and Portugal. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not believed to have signed off on the adjustments yet.
Travellers are expected to be given around 30 hours notice of any changes coming into force, so they can make new arrangements if required.
Hundreds of thousands of Britons are either on holiday in France or planning to go there, but yesterday it recorded more than 2,500 cases – a record since lockdown was eased. Pictured, Cergy-Pontoise, north west of Paris
Pictured: A graph showing the countries from which travellers arriving in the UK are currently exempt from the 14-day coronavirus quarantine, and the number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in each country. Speculation is mounting that France could be removed from the list of exempt countries, but there a number of others that have higher or similar figures
The Netherlands (23.1 per 100,000), Gibraltar (35.6), Monaco (38.2), Malta (46.7), San Marino (53.0), the Faroe Islands (198.5), Turks and Caicos (278.9) and Aruba (547.9) all have higher rates of new cases per 100,000 than France.
Those on the list with a slightly lower rate than France are Denmark (15.3 per 100,000), Iceland (14.7), the Czech Republic (14.0), Switzerland (13.3) and Poland (12.7).
All the above have now overtaken Portugal’s rate of 12.4 new cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, but despite this, Portugal remains on the list of countries from which all arrivals to the UK, including those returning from holiday, must quarantine for two weeks.
Downing Street reminded potential holidaymakers this week that ‘there is no risk free way of travelling overseas’ with Boris Johnson adding that he ‘would not hesitate’ to bring in travel restrictions for other countries.
The latest data on coronavirus cases on foreign soil is being analysed by the Government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre (JCB), which reports to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Britons in France and other countries could be forced to make a dash home or risk being forced to quarantine on their return to the UK, should the government decide to remove more countries from the list.
Despite Portugal having a lower rate of new Covid-19 cases in the past seven days than a number of countries on the government’s exemption list, travellers entering the UK from Portugal are required to self-isolate on their arrival in the UK. Pictured: Beachgoers crowd Praia da Duquesa, in Cascais, Portugal. on August 09, 2020 as tourism slowly returns
UK Ministers are believed to be planning new measures for a swathe of countries amid a surge in European coronavirus cases
The Netherlands is among the countries exempt from the UK’s quarantine rules, but saw a rate of 23.1 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week- a higher rate than France
On Tuesday, the UK updated its travel ‘green list’, but did not take Portugal off the quarantine list, in a blow to the country’s economy that benefits greatly from tourism from the UK.
The UK Government was warned that cases in Portugal had not fallen fast enough to be able to safely add the country to the ‘green list’.
Meanwhile, France’s tally of coronavirus cases rose by 2,524 in the latest update yesterday.
On Monday, France reported the first significant rise in the number of coronavirus patients in hospital since the lockdown was lifted, although it fell again on Tuesday.
France’s prime minister Jean Castex (pictured at a hospital in Montpellier this week) has told his citizens to ‘pull themselves together’ amid a fresh surge in coronavirus cases in France
Jean Castex said the public was becoming careless and raised the spectre of a second lockdown after a rise of more than 10,000 cases in the last week.
‘If we don’t act collectively, we expose ourselves to the heightened risk that the rebound in the epidemic becomes hard to control,’ Castex said on a visit to an intensive care ward in the South of France.
Some parts of France have tightened their mask rules despite the summer heatwave, with police now set to ramp up checks on face coverings – while neighbouring Belgium has today made masks compulsory in all public spaces including outdoors.