People travelling to the UK from Belgium, Luxembourg and Croatia may face 14-day quarantines as coronavirus infection rates rise across the continent.
Boris Johnson said yesterday that he feared mainland Europe was beginning to experience the first stages of a second Covid-19 wave.
Infection rates have been recorded as rising in 11 European countries over the past week.
The government is reportedly closely watching cases in Belgium, Luxembourg and Croatia, and are preparing to impose a quarantine on them as it did with Spain, according to The Times.
The new measures could be in place as early as tomorrow.
Speaking to reporters yesterday during a visit in Nottingham, Johnson said: “What we have to do is take swift and decisive action where we think that the risks are starting to bubble up again.
“Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening in Europe – Amongst some of our European friends, I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.”
Dr David Nabarro, the World Health Organisation’s special envoy for coronavirus, confirmed Johnson’s fears that a European second wave may be occurring in an interview with Times Radio.
“It’s early stage, and I know it’s awful, we would have had to change their plans at the last minute,” he said.
“But we are learning to live with a completely new situation, the point you made earlier, and it may take a few weeks before standard and predictable pattern emerges.”
The government announced on Saturday that people coming to the UK from Spain would have to quarantine themselves for 14 days, after a spike in cases in the regions of Catalonia and Aragon.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the quarantine was “an error” and that “in most of Spain, the incidence is very much inferior to even the numbers registered in the UK”.
The prospect of fresh quarantines spells bad news for an aviation industry already reeling from the coronavirus crisis.
Jet2 and Tui have already cancelled all flights from the UK to Spain in response to the new quarantine, while British Airways and EasyJet have said their flight schedules will not yet be affected.