Angela Merkel’s call for EU to quarantine holidaying Britons attacked by government minister

Angela Merkel’s call for EU to quarantine holidaying Britons attacked by government minister
Crackdown not ‘justified’, George Eustice insists – despite UK imposing 10-day isolation on arrival from EU countries

Angela Merkel is under fire after calling for all EU countries to force holidaying Britons to go into quarantine, in the latest threat to summer foreign holiday hopes.

George Eustice, the environment secretary, claimed the move was not necessary – despite the UK itself currently requiring 10-day isolation on return from all EU destinations.

“I don’t think such a move would be justified, but obviously it’s for individual countries to make these judgments,” he said.

The row comes after the German Chancellor called for a united EU approach, after rocketing cases of the Delta variant in the UK put it at the top of the table for Covid infections.

“In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – that’s not the case in every European country and that’s what I would like to see,” Ms Merkel told the Bundestag.

The German leader intervened as the British government prepares to relax its rules for returning holidaymakers, probably in time for the school holidays at the end of July.

The Balearic Islands, Malta and some Caribbean islands could be added to the ‘green list’ today – lifting the need for isolation and expensive tests, which are making holidays unviable for many families.

And, even more significantly, fully vaccinated Britons – and their children – would be able to travel to amber list countries later this summer without quarantine or testing on return, under government plans.

The German call complicates those moves, but Mr Eustice pointed to “the highly advanced stage” of the UK’s vaccination programme, with 80 per cent of adults having had one jab and 60 per cent both doses.

Greece and Spain are among Mediterranean sunspots that have broken with Brussels to allow in British travellers without requiring them to isolate.

But that openness is threatened by the UK’s failure to keep the Delta – or Indian – variant under control, with 16,135 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, the highest figure since early February.

In just a few weeks, the UK has gone from the European country with the lowest Covid rate to having the highest – amid fierce criticism of Boris Johnson for failing to shut off travel from India in time.

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