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Tue, 29 September 2020

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Rishi Sunak warns holidaymakers UK 'will not hesitate' to impose travel restrictions amid fears France could be next on quarantine list

Rishi Sunak warns holidaymakers UK 'will not hesitate' to impose travel restrictions amid fears France could be next on quarantine list

Rishi Sunak has warned of further travel disruption

3 min read

Rishi Sunak has told holidaymakers the Government will "not hesitate" to impose travel restrictions amid growing fears that France could be added to the UK quarantine list.

The Chancellor urged travellers to prepare for the "risk of disruption" after France recorded its highest number of new coronavirus cases since May, with more than 1,600 diagnosed in the last 24 hours.

It comes after ministers announced on Thursday that those returning from Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas will have to spend 14 days in isolation following rising infection rates in the three destinations.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Sunak admitted it was "tricky situation" for those planning to travel to France in the coming days.

But he insisted the Government would "not hesitate" to impose fresh restrictions if cases continued to rise.

"What I can say to people is we're in the midst of a global pandemic and that means there is always the risk of disruption to travel plans and people need to bear that in mind," he said.

"It's the right thing for us to do to keep everything under review on a constant basis, talking with our scientists and medical advisers.

"And if we need to take action as you've seen overnight, we will of course not hesitate to do that and we're doing that to protect people's health.

"In the meantime people should look at the guidance and take everything into account and make a decision they think is best."

His comments came after travel consultant Paul Charles told The Times that France would need to reduce its infection rate quickly if it wanted to avoid being dropped from the UK travel corridor list.

"It is vital that France gets its case numbers down over the next five days if it is to avoid the government adding it to its quarantine list," he said.

"There are several hundred thousand British tourists in France at the moment so the government must give plenty of warning if it does change its advice later next week."

SUNAK: NO 'DESIRE' TO BE PM

Mr Sunak, who issued the warning during a series of broadcast interviews, also insisted he had no desire to become Prime Minister, saying the "speed and severity" of the pandemic had been "stressful" to handle.

The Chancellor has seen his popularity soar during the crisis, with a new poll of Conservative Party members putting him at the top of net statisfaction ratings for the Cabinet.

But told by a Times Radio presenter that he looked tired and asked whether it had impacted his desire to become Prime Minister, he said: "Oh gosh, I don't have that desire. But yeah, I am tired, I think that’s fair."

He added: "It’s not just me. Lots of people, not just in government, but up and down the country in all their different ways have been working around the clock – people on the frontline through to the Prime Minister himself.

"We’re all dealing with something we haven’t had to deal with before, it's hit us at extraordinary speed and severity and everyone in their different way is trying to do the best they can.

"That often requires working very hard, and it’s stressful because it’s very uncertain."

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