The UK has extended quarantine rules for France, despite Britain having almost nine times as many Covid cases.
British holidaymakers coming home from France after Monday will still have to continue to quarantine for 10 days, officials have announced.
The requirement will be dropped for all other ‘amber list’ countries as long as returning Brits have been double-jabbed.
Many travellers have questioned why the rules are continuing for France when it has a comparatively low number of new Covid infections.
The UK recorded a further 244,691 cases in the 7 days to July 14, while France only had 27,713 infections over the same period, according to Our World in Data.
Meanwhile the Netherlands logged 58,820 cases – up by 410% in a week – but Brits returning from the country will not have to quarantine after Monday.
The Government said France will remain on the ‘amber plus’ list because of the persistent presence of Beta (South Africa) variant cases in the country.
It is thought to reflect concerns that the mutation, first identified in South Africa, may be more resistant to the vaccines.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the Government had always been clear it would take rapid action at the borders to “protect the gains made by our successful vaccination programme”.
The announcement is a further blow to the beleaguered travel industry while underlining the uncertainty in some quarters over the ending of lockdown restrictions in England on Monday.
The industry body Abta said the last minute exclusion of France for those arriving back in England was a further setback for hopes of a “meaningful recovery” for the sector.
Easyjet chief Johan Lundgren said it “pulls the rug” from under people who were already in France or had booked holidays there.
He added: “The traffic light system is falling apart with the Government making it up as they go along and causing confusion and uncertainty. It is not backed up by the science or transparent data.”
Labour shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds added: “Ministers are making up rules on the hoof and causing chaos.
“They have never had a proper strategy in place – once again the travel industry and the British people are paying the price.”
The last-minute change in rules has also sparked fury among Brits planning holidays in France.
One angry holidaymaker told The Mirror: “I have spent the best part of 4 of 5 hours over the last few days rescheduling flights which have been cancelled on many numerous occasions due to Covid restrictions, was delighted to know that I could travel with no quarantine on return due to being fully vaccinated.
“Now to be announced only five days later that I am expected to quarantine on return is beyond belief.
“I am not in a position to do that so once again I have to try to get through to the airline to change flights.
“The flights started off being booked in late 2019 and still have not been taken due to constantly changing guidelines.”
Another traveller said the Government decision had left him and his family ‘absolutely heartbroken’.
Get all the latest news sent to your inbox. Sign up for the free Mirror newsletter
Daniel Cooke told The Mirror: “We were supposed to be going over there from July 31 to August 16 and have been preparing everything for it and been desperate for this trip for ages.
“My wife and children are absolutely heartbroken and we were supposed to be seeing my parents who have a house out there that my children haven’t seen since well before the pandemic started.
“We are not silly people and planned to be ultra safe and believe this would have even been a lot safer than if we were doing a trip somewhere here in the UK.
“We are just overwhelmed with sadness and anger towards the Government at how this is being handled. We feel cheated from what was supposed to be a much-needed special moment.”