of Luigi Ippolito
The new strain more resistant to the vaccine: isolation for the French in the UK and Paris crackdown on tests
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
LONDON It is a quarantine war that has broken out between Great Britain and France: London on Friday evening cracked down on the rules for those returning from beyond the Channel and yesterday Paris immediately responded by imposing a tampon in the previous 24 hours, instead of 48, for those who show up there from the UK.
But the move by Boris Johnson’s government has sowed panic and chaos especially among hundreds of thousands of British citizens. France is already on the orange list in the traffic light system that regulates travel abroad: this means that those who return must do 10 days of quarantine and undergo a double, expensive swab. But from tomorrow those who return from the countries on this list (which also includes Italy) will be exempted from quarantine if they can prove that they have received the double dose of vaccine: Friday evening, however, the French exception has landed, which maintains the quarantine for everyone, regardless of vaccinations.
The reason lies in the Beta variant, i.e. the South African variant, which now accounts for ten percent of new infections in France: a variant that is not particularly contagious, especially compared to the Delta, which is the dominant one in Great Britain, but which seems to be more resistant to vaccines, especially AstraZeneca. In Great Britain there have so far only been a thousand infections due to the Beta variant and the authorities want to prevent it from spreading: because otherwise, the level of infections in France is much lower than in Great Britain, with only 27,000 new cases compared to 244,000 in the past week.
Indeed, the London government had even considered placing France on the red list, which implies a quarantine in the hotel at its own expense: but then it gave up because the move would probably have provoked a diplomatic crisis. However, the decision on Friday evening also comes in a not-so-serene climate in relations with Paris, already marred by the fishing war in the waters of the Channel and by the arrival of refugees who sail the waters of the Channel.
But it is primarily British tourists who have to swallow a bitter bite. This weekend alone, half a million people were expected to move from Britain to France, coinciding with the start of the school holidays. In 2019, before the pandemic, there were 9 million British visitors to France, which remains the second most popular destination, after Spain, for second home owners.
Tomorrow is also the day that marks the end of all restrictions in Great Britain: but, ironically, yesterday the Minister of Health himself, Sajid Javid, was infected. Furthermore, the minister is fully vaccinated, but has revealed that he accuses “mild symptoms”: he received the two doses of AstraZeneca, which is only 60% effective against symptomatic disease (while the protection against hospitalization and death remains over 90%).
July 17, 2021 (change July 17, 2021 | 21:45)
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