France could become the next nation to be added to the UK’s list of countries where travellers have to quarantine on their return.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said his government will be “absolutely ruthless” in deciding whether travellers from the country must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in the UK.
A decision is believed to be imminent, amid mounting concern over the rising number of coronavirus cases in France, the UK’s second most popular tourist destination after Spain.
Other countries that have been threatened with quarantine, including Malta and the Netherlands, currently have higher weekly rates than France and are more similar to Spain and Belgium.
France’s weekly rate from 3-9 August was 15 cases per 100,000, while the Netherlands was 19 and Malta 35.
The curve of cases in France has followed a similar pattern to the UK since the beginning of July, but is now rising above the UK, although the increase is much lower than Spain or Belgium.
Malta’s rate is spiking sharply and is nearer Spain’s, while Belgium has seen a small drop – although its rate is still higher than France, the Netherlands and the UK.
The number of cases in the Netherlands has continued to rise steadily since 29 July.
Within France, levels of infection are higher in Paris and its surrounding areas, and also on the south coast.
The French capital had the highest weekly rate of coronavirus cases, followed by Bouches-du-Rhone, the region home to the popular tourist destinations of Aix-en-Provence, Marseille and the Camargue and Alpilles national parks.
Together with Spain, infection levels have also risen in eastern European countries, including Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Moldova.