UK's France curbs irk travelers; health chief tests positive
LONDON (AP) — Tourists and the travel industry vented frustration and anger on Saturday after Britain reversed a plan to ease travel restrictions on France just two days after they were due to start, citing concerns about a variant of the coronavirus.
The move comes despite the fact that France currently has lower rates of the virus than the U.K., where the highly contagious delta variant is driving a surge in infections. On Saturday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who is in charge of Britain's coronavirus response, said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-isolating while he awaits the results of a second test.
Javid said in a video message that he has had both shots of a vaccine and "so far my symptoms are very mild.”
Javid took over last month from Matt Hancock, who resigned after breaching social distancing rules. Hancock fell ill with COVID-19 early in the pandemic last year, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent several days in intensive care with the virus in April 2020.
Coronavirus cases have been rising for weeks in Britain, where more than 54,000 new infections were confirmed on Saturday, the highest daily total since January. Hospitalizations and deaths are also rising, but remain far lower than at previous infection peaks thanks to vaccinations.
Despite the soaring cases, remaining restrictions are set to be lifted in England on Monday, though the government is advising people to remain cautious. Face masks will still be required on London’s buses and subways and some other transit networks.
The U.K. government announced late Friday that people arriving from France must self-isolate for 10 days on entering Britain, even if they are fully vaccinated. The announcement came just days after the government said vaccinated U.K. residents will...