During his address to the nation on Sunday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for coronavirus screening for travellers arriving in the UK, a move that he said is necessary to prevent the importation of new cases.

The prime minister said: “I am serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air.”

Leading representatives of the tourism and aviation sectors responded by saying that this would spell the death knell for international travel and even greater losses for the airlines.

Willie Walsh, Chairman and CEO of BA’s parent company, IAG, said that the quarantine measures would mean his company will have to review its plan to return to 50 percent capacity by July.

However, the prime minister’s office said that an agreement had been reached with Paris that will allow passengers arriving from France will be exempt from the UK coronavirus quarantine measures.

In a rare joint statement, the UK and French governments said they had agreed to “work together in taking forward appropriate border measures,” adding: “This co-operation is particularly necessary for the management of our common border.”

Mr Walsh said he was mystified by the deal, and questioned why the same rules would apply to passengers arriving from other European countries, such as Germany.

British Airways has been operating flights several times a week throughout the health emergency from London Heathrow to Nice. According to its website, easyJet is resuming flights from London to Nice from June 1.