Under tough new rules British tourists are banned from travelling to France from Saturday amid concerns over the rapid spread of the Omicron Covid variant in the UK
A British family-of-four’s plans to spend Christmas at a luxury ski resort have been ruined by France’s travel ban.
Maxine Lane-Badenhop, 56, had been set to go skiing in France with her husband Henning and their two daughters, Millie, 14, and Maddie, 15, before France made the shock announcement on Wednesday.
Under the nation’s tough new rules British tourists are banned from travelling to France from Saturday amid concerns over the rapid spread of the Omicron Covid variant in the UK.
But French nationals, their spouses and their children will be exempt.
Furious Maxine said her family had booked a £3,800 holiday which they can only postpone due to the rules which she called ‘ridiculous’.
She told MailOnline: “We can’t go now.. We are devastated, we were all looking forward to it as a family. We don’t know what we are going to do for Christmas now.
“If France are shutting the borders to us, are they going to do the same to others in Europe?”
“I think it just seems crazy with Omicron everywhere. I feel terrible for the resorts that are going to lose money too.”
France’s President Emmanuel Macron singled out the UK for the ban but the travel industry and experts say Omicron is already well established there.
According to the latest available data Omicron makes up a higher proportion of French cases.
Meanwhile Boris Johnson slammed France for the new rules.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the government did not think travel bans were a ‘effective or proportionate’ response to Omicron.
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He said: “On our part given the given the transmissibility of Omicron and it’s seeding around the world, we don’t think that Red Lists are effective or proportionate at this current time.”
Brits who are allowed into France must isolate for seven days and will need to show a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours before departure – down from 48 hours.
The travel ban comes after weeks of political tensions between France and Britain over post-Brexit fishing rights.
The two Government’s have also locked horns over and how to deal with migrants crossing the English Channel.
France’s daily Covid cases are already soaring after the arrival of Omicron and are approaching the same level per million as in the UK.
Omicron is also widespread across many European countries including Denmark but it has not been included in the French travel ban.
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France has given boosters to only 16.7 million people and hopes to give a third dose to 20 million by Christmas.
However they are behind the UK which has already surpassed 24 million booster jabs.
A statement from the French Prime Minister’s office said: “Faced with the extremely rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK, the government has chosen to reinstate compelling reasons for travel to and from the UK and to reinforce the requirement for departure and arrival testing.
“By the British Government’s own words, the UK will face a tidal wave linked to the Omicron variant in the coming days.”
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said “blanket country measures are damaging and never work”.
Health minister Gillian Keegan was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme for her reaction to the French travel ban.
She said: ‘Well, actually, my first thought is ‘I’m glad that I cancelled my trip to France’, because that’s where I was supposed to go for Christmas.
ABTA called for Government support for the travel industry.