Increased restrictions on UK travellers are raising concerns for festive holidays around the world as countries move to curb the spread of the omicron variant.
Over the weekend, Germany followed in the footsteps of France by announcing a ban on most UK travellers. Since Sunday night, only German citizens or residents have been able to enter the country from the UK and are required to quarantine for two weeks, regardless of vaccination status.
European countries are also increasing their domestic restrictions. The Netherlands has been plunged into a full lockdown with non-essential shops, bars and restaurants all closing from today.
Meanwhile, Ursula Von der Leyen, the European Commission President, has said the European Union must consider imposing PCR tests on all travellers entering from outside the bloc. She called on EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday to introduce pre-departure tests and a second after arrival as part of a bloc-wide strategy to contain the highly contagious coronavirus variant.
Further afield, Thailand is considering ending quarantine-free holidays. Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told a local news programme about potential plans to return to hotel quarantine and the “sandbox” scheme, which allows trips to certain locations.
Scroll down for more updates.
Eurostar boss attacks Emmanuel Macron’s decision to close France’s borders
Eurostar’s boss said Emmanuel Macron’s decision to close the French borders was “very hard to endorse” after ruining Christmas for tens of thousands of Britons.
Jacques Damas said the French president could only justify blocking British tourists if he dramatically increased the country’s vaccination rollout.
The Eurostar chief executive told The Telegraph:
We cannot say that it is helpful from the Eurostar perspective. It is very hard to endorse as far as the business situation is concerned. We have thousands of passengers [that] have been let down with very short notice.
The price is being paid by our customers. They are cancelling all their Christmas plans.
Travel bans cause ‘social and economic devastation’, says industry chief
The travel industry is reacting to the increased restrictions on UK travellers imposed in the past few days.
Julia Lo-Bue Said, chief executive of Advantage Travel Partnership, told Telegraph Travel:
Our members are working around the clock to ensure all their clients due to depart have all the information required and in some cases have been able to rebook their clients to destinations without travel bans.
Time and time again we have seen travel bans causing significant social and economic devastation and no demonstrable public health benefit. The World Health Organisation has been very clear that countries should consider alternatives to travel bans as they create more devastation to people and local economies.
What happened over the weekend?
A recap of the top stories
- Flights sold out as Britons rushed to visit France before a ban on tourists comes into force on Saturday
- Germany banned most UK travellers
- The Netherlands announced a full lockdown
- Skiers have told of their heartbreak at losing their Christmas holidays in the Alps
- New Covid guidance for Scottish businesses has come into effect, with hospitality encouraged to return to table service only
Now, on with today’s travel news.