British holidaymakers forced to quarantine after returning from France will not receive Government help because they travelled “with their eyes open”, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said today.

The Cabinet Minister warned tens of thousands of tourists there would be no extra support if they miss work through a fortnight of forced self-isolation.

Rejecting the idea travellers should receive compensation, he said: “People this year will have gone away knowing that there was a significant risk so because of that people will have gone with their eyes open.”

It comes despite weeks of pleas for those thrown into quarantine without warning to be given Statutory Sick Pay.

Workers who self-isolate due to coronavirus symptoms can claim the £95.85-a-week rate - but those who quarantine after being abroad cannot.

They travelled “with their eyes open”, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said

That will throw many workers into poverty when they return from holiday and cannot show up to their shifts.

The TUC has demanded sick pay is extended to those in travel quarantine without warning - saying "no-one should suffer hardship for a decision they had no control over."

Some 160,000 Brits are currently on holiday in France.

People arriving from France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, the Turks and Caicos and Aruba, after 4am on Saturday must spend two weeks in quarantine after the countries were stripped from the Government's list of exempt nations.

The late-night announcement triggered a race for Channel ferry ports, airports and Eurotunnel trains.

Travellers trying to return from France today to avoid the quarantine restrictions faced paying hundreds of pounds.

British Airways was charging £452 for the cheapest tickets to fly direct from Paris to London Heathrow.

The same journey on Saturday could be made with the airline for just £66.

Britons still planning to travel to France for their summer holiday face being forced into quarantine when they arrive the other side of the Channel.

France's Secretary of State for European affairs said the UK decision would lead to "reciprocal measures".

Passengers wearing protective face masks arrive from Paris at Eurostar terminal at St Pancras station

Clement Beaune tweeted: "A British decision which we regret and which will lead to reciprocal measures, all in hoping for a return for normal as soon as possible."

An ABTA spokeswoman warned: “The Government’s measures to restrict travel will result in livelihoods being lost unless it can step in with tailored support for the travel industry.

"The announcements relating to Spain, and now France, impact the two biggest destinations for British holidaymakers at the height of the summer season, affecting an industry that has had its trade significantly restricted since the start of this crisis.

"At this time of recession, a plan is urgently needed to protect the 221,000 jobs the travel industry sustains.”

Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “It’s another devastating blow to the travel industry already reeling from the worst crisis in its history.”