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People arriving in England from France will still have to quarantine for 10 days on their return – even if they have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine, the government has announced.

From Monday, those who have had two COVID vaccine doses will no longer have to isolate after travelling back from countries on the so-called amber list.

However, the Department of Health and Social Care announced on Friday evening that – although still on the amber list – the new rule will not apply to those returning from France due to a large number of cases of the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa.

An Air France Airbus A350 airplane lands at the Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Roissy, near Paris, France April 2, 2021. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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France will however still remain on the amber list, meaning that those returning can quarantine at home and will not be forced to mandatory hotel isolation

It means all those making their way back to England from France must continue to quarantine for ten days despite the rule change which comes into force on Monday.

They must also complete a coronavirus test on the second and eighth day after their return, irrespective of vaccine status.

The option of test and release from isolation after five days with a negative coronavirus result will remain in place for travellers from France, the government said.

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“From Monday 19 July, UK residents arriving from amber countries who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to quarantine, although they will still need to comply with necessary testing requirements,” the department said.

“However, this will not apply to France following the persistent presence of cases in France of the Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa.

“Anyone who has been in France in the last ten days will need to quarantine on arrival to England in their own accommodation and will need a day 2 and day 8 test, regardless of their vaccination status.

“This includes any fully vaccinated individual who transits through France from either a green or another amber country to reach England.

France is one of the countries currently on the amber list despite being a popular holiday destination for Britons
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As a popular holiday destination for Britons, the news will come as a blow to many who were looking to make a trip this summer

“The Test to Release scheme remains an option for travellers to shorten their quarantine period should they test negative after day 5.”

While current cases of the Beta coronavirus variant in France are not high enough to mandate putting France on to the red list and enforcing a ten-day mandatory hotel quarantine period for all returning travellers, the risk of transmission must be considered, the department added.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government’s priority is “to protect public health” in the UK.

“Travel will be different this year and whilst we are committed to continuing to open up international travel safely, our absolute priority is to protect public health here in the UK,” he said.

“We urge everyone thinking about going abroad this summer to check their terms and conditions as well as the travel restrictions abroad before they go.”

And newly appointed Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government has been clear they “will not hesitate to take rapid action” if necessary.

The Health Secretary Sajid Javid speaks to the House of Commons
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Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government has been clear it will take action if necessary to protect the gains won through the country’s vaccination programme

“We have always been clear that we will not hesitate to take rapid action at our borders to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the gains made by our successful vaccination programme,” Mr Javid said.

“With restrictions lifting on Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure international travel is conducted as safely as possible, and protect our borders from the threat of variants.”

And UK Health Security Agency Chief Executive Dr Jenny Harries added: “As we ease restrictions and begin making our way back to a normal life, its more vital than ever that we listen to the data and act decisively when it changes.

“While vaccines are helping us turn the tables against this virus, we need to continue to proceed cautiously. That means maintaining our defences against new variants and protecting our hard won progress through the exceptional vaccination roll out.”

The department also clarified that amber list exemptions for key workers including hauliers will remain in place.

Passengers arrive at the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord train station
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The government said it was introducing new restrictions on travel from France due to the prevalence of the Beta variant of coronavirus in the country

From Monday, a new rule announced by Mr Shapps earlier this month comes in to force, allowing those double-jabbed to skip quarantine when returning from amber list countries – apart from France.

From the same date, the guidance that people should not travel to countries on the amber list will also be removed, allowing people to travel for leisure, business and to see family.

It means getaways to popular holiday hotspots including Spain, Portugal and Greece are much more achievable for many holiday makers this summer.

But Friday’s announcement that France is excluded from this isolation exemption will undoubtedly disgruntle individuals with trips booked to the country in the coming weeks.

And Conservative MP Henry Smith, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of Aviation called the move “a real setback to international travel”

“We all expected that the traffic light system would provide much-needed certainty yet our current approach has only delivered confusion which continues to prevent any meaningful recovery for our aviation, travel and tourism sectors,” Mr Smith said in a statement.

“Yet again, a last-minute announcement raises significant questions about whether the traffic light system is fit for purpose in its current form and pushes the UK further behind Europe despite our world-leading vaccination programme.

“We cannot afford to continue with this on-again, off-again approach to international travel, which is leaving consumer confidence in tatters, pushing businesses to the brink and will lead to further job losses.”

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Rishi Sunak says Nigel Farage ‘playing into hands of Putin’ with ‘completely wrong’ comments on Ukraine war

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Rishi Sunak says Nigel Farage 'playing into hands of Putin' with 'completely wrong' comments on Ukraine war

Rishi Sunak has said Nigel Farage’s comments about the West provoking Vladimir Putin were “completely wrong” and play into the Russian dictator’s hands.

The Reform UK leader is facing a backlash from across the political spectrum for saying that the expansion of NATO and the EU “provoked” Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Mr Sunak told reporters: “What he said was completely wrong and only plays into Putin’s hands.

“This is a man who deployed nerve agents on the streets of Britain, is doing deals with countries like North Korea

“And this kind of appeasement is dangerous for Britain’s security, the security of our allies that rely on us and only emboldens Putin further.”

In an interview with BBC Panorama, Mr Farage said he had been warning since the fall of the Berlin Wall that there would be a war in Ukraine due to the “ever-eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union”.

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Farage: NATO expansion ‘provoked’ Ukraine war

He said this was giving Mr Putin a reason to tell the Russian people “they’re coming for us again” and go to war.

The Reform leader confirmed his belief the West “provoked” the conflict – but said it was “of course” the Russian president’s “fault”.

Asked about comments he made in 2014 stating that Mr Putin was the statesman he most admired, Mr Farage said: “I said I disliked him as a person, but I admired him as a political operator because he’s managed to take control of running Russia.”

Mr Putin has served continuously as either Russian president or prime minister since 1999, with elections which have been described as “rigged”.

Mr Sunak is the latest Conservative figure to condemn the comments, after Home Secretary James Cleverly said Mr Farage was “echoing Putin’s vile justification for the brutal invasion of Ukraine”.

Meanwhile, former defence secretary Ben Wallace branded the Reform UK leader a “pub bore…who often says if ‘I was running the country’ and presents very simplistic answers to actually I am afraid in the 21st century complex problems”.

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Has Farage made first mistake of his campaign?
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Farage called out over comments

Mr Farage has so far enjoyed a relatively smooth campaign, with his party’s popularity increasing and even overtaking the Conservatives in some polls.

Senior Tories, some of whom want Mr Farage to join them to counter the threat of Reform UK, have until now refrained from the sort of personal attacks they have launched at Sir Keir Starmer.

The most that cabinet ministers have said against him up to now is that a vote for him is a vote to put Labour in Downing Street with a “super-majority”.

Labour leader Sir Keir condemned Mr Farage’s remarks, calling them “disgraceful”.

“I’ve always been clear that Putin bears responsibility, sole responsibility for the Russian aggression in Ukraine”, he said.

“Anybody who wants to stand to be a representative in our parliament should be really clear that whether it’s Russian aggression on the battlefield or online, that we stand against that aggression.”

Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey said: “It is Putin and Russia who are to blame for this, no one else.”

He added: “I don’t share any values with Nigel Farage.”

Following the backlash, Mr Farage posted a late-night tweet appearing to clarify his comments.

The former Brexit Party leader wrote: “I am one of the few figures that have been consistent & honest about the war with Russia. Putin was wrong to invade a sovereign nation, and the EU was wrong to expand eastward.

“The sooner we realise this, the closer we will be to ending the war and delivering peace.”

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Digital Chamber raises privacy concerns over IRS crypto tax draft

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Digital Chamber raises privacy concerns over IRS crypto tax draft

The Chamber proposes adding a field to the form for brokers to indicate if a digital asset has a different tax rate, such as NFTs taxed as collectibles, to prevent errors and ensure accurate reporting.

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Nigeria rejects claims of Binance exec’s poor health in custody

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<div>Nigeria rejects claims of Binance exec's poor health in custody</div>

Mohammed Idris, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and National Orientation emphasized that Gambaryan enjoys full consular support from his home government.

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