Britain’s transportation minister Friday defended the country’s decision to continue quarantine requirements on fully vaccinated French visitors, saying they do not want to take chances on thwarting their COVID-19 vaccination program.
In an interview, Transport Minister Grant Shapps said Britain does not want to take chances with the progress of its vaccination program. He said the presence of the beta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which was originally identified in South Africa, and now in France has prompted Britain to exercise caution.
Shapps was responding to comments made Thursday by French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune, who called Britain’s policy “discriminatory and incomprehensible.” Britain, on Wednesday, had announced it was lifting the quarantine requirement on fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and the European Union, except for France.
Beaune argued the beta strain accounted for fewer than 5% of COVID-19 cases in France, and mostly occurred in overseas territories from where relatively few people travelled to Britain.
In his interview Friday, Shapp insisted the beta variant has not just been limited to far away French island territories but has also been an issue in northern France.
But he added that he has been in discussions with his French counterpart, Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari. They agree that every country must look at the data and follow the science.
Shapp said that is what they are doing right now – looking at the latest data on where the beta variant is going. He said the plan right now is to review the decision on France next week.