Travel Shares Tumble as UK Adds France to Coronavirus Quarantine List Citing Surge in Infections

The measure is to take effect early on Saturday, potentially causing crowds at French rail stations and airports on Friday night, as thousands are expected to rush back home in a bid to escape being put under quarantine.

With France, the second-most-popular destination among British tourists after Spain, now on the UK government’s quarantine list, investors have sent shares down across quite a few companies in the travel and hospitality sectors, The Guardian reported.

The sweeping sell-off in shares, which included the airport shop owner WH Smith, the jet engine maker Rolls-Royce, and the Eurotunnel operator, Getlink, led the FTSE 100 down 2.1% and the Europe-wide Stoxx 600 index down 1.9% late Friday morning. France’s leading bourse, the Cac, fell 2.4%, while IAG, which owns British Airways, tumbled more than 6% in early trading, making it the biggest loser on the FTSE 100.

The low-cost airline easyJet tumbled 7%, while Ryanair slumped by 4.5%.

“The question now becomes just how long the likes of easyJet, Ryanair, and IAG can continue under these conditions”, Russ Mould, the investment director at AJ Bell, was cited by the newspaper as saying.

“It appears summer 2020 will be something of a write-off, the industry cannot afford for the same to be true in 12 months”, he shared.

Hospitality businesses, like hotels, for instance, have been hit quite hard as well, with Intercontinental falling 2.8%, Whitbread down 2.6%, and Accor seeing its shares lose 2% in price.

Britons returning from France, Malta, and the Netherlands are now required to self-isolate for two weeks, as the countries have been added to the UK’s quarantine list which already includes such holiday destinations as Monaco, Turks & Caicos, and Aruba.

The measure announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will come into force on Saturday morning, at 4 a.m., with the minister stressing that it was necessary to keep coronavirus infections down, as France in particular reported a 66% increase in the number of positive coronavirus tests in past few days (for the Netherlands, it was up 52%. And the increase for Malta was 105%, while it was 273% for Turks and Caicos and 1,106% for Aruba.)

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