Hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers will need to quarantine when they return from France, Boris Johnson announced on Thursday night.
The Prime Minister decided to strip France from the “green list” after it reported a sharp rise in coronavirus infections.
About 400,000 Britons have until 4am on Saturday to return to the UK before restrictions are implemented, requiring them to self-isolate for two weeks.
The announcement, which echoes the way quarantine was imposed at six hours' notice on travellers from Spain, will lead to a scramble for flights and trains out of France ahead of the deadline.
Clément Beaune, a French junior European affairs minister, suggested the quarantine would be met with a reciprocal policy in France.
He tweeted at midnight on Thursday: “A British decision that we regret and which will lead to a measure of reciprocity, hoping that things will return to normal as soon as possible.”
Coronavirus cases in France hit a post-lockdown daily high on Thursday as the country’s health ministry reported 2,699 new infections in 24 hours.
The French Government has now designated Paris a "red zone", giving local authorities the power to impose local lockdowns and restrictions on travel.
On Thursday Mr Johnson said the Government would be “absolutely ruthless” with imposing the measures, even with “our closest and dearest partners”.
Read more: Can I visit France? The latest travel advice
During a visit to Northern Ireland Mr Johnson said: “We can’t be remotely complacent about our own situation. Everybody understands that in a pandemic you don’t allow our population to be reinfected or the disease to come back in.
“That is why the quarantine measures are very important and we have to apply them in a very strict way.”
The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba were also removed from the travel exemptions list, effective from 4am on Saturday. Officials said they were responding to a “significant change in Covid-19 risk” .
Cases in the Netherlands jumped by 52 per cent and there was a 273 per cent increase in newly reported incidents of coronavirus in Turks and Caicos in the past week.
Aruba saw a 1,106 per cent rise in the past week, with cases more than doubling in Malta.
The Foreign Office also updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to the six countries.
Gibraltar remained on the "green list" of countries despite rising cases.
It come as lockdown measures were eased on Thursday night, with wedding receptions and pilots of sporting events with spectators allowed to resume from Saturday.
All the measures that were put on hold two weeks ago by the Prime Minister will now be reinstated from Saturday. This will apply across England, except for areas under local lockdown.
Mr Johnson also introduced tougher penalties for repeatedly failing to wear face masks in public places.
Fines will double each time someone is found in breach of the rules, up until a maximum of £3,200. Hairdressers will also now be required to wear surgical face masks.
Over the past week there has been a 66 per cent increase in newly reported cases of coronavirus in France, and a 52 per cent increase in weekly incidence rate per 100,000 population.
The Prime Minister decided to impose lockdown measures hours after seeing the data, government sources said. Prof Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, is understood to have signed off on the decision last night.
The quarantine rules will apply to Corsica as well as mainland France, the Telegraph understands.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said: “Data shows we need to remove France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos & Aruba from our list of coronavirus Travel Corridors to keep infection rates down.
"If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days."
People arriving in the UK will need to fill out a "passenger locator form", indicating where they will be self-isolating if returning from a country which is on the "red list".
On Thursday morning it was initially thought that France had done “enough” to retain its status, with government sources indicating new restrictions would not be imposed.
However, the latest data convinced ministers to act.
A government source said the data on infections in France were “above the level we regard as safe”.
Employers are being urged to be “understanding” over the need for people returning from France to quarantine.
Officials last night issued a statement saying: “The Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England have indicated a significant change in Covid-19 risk in all six destinations, leading to Ministers removing these from the current list of travel corridors.”
It added: “The Government has made consistently clear it will take decisive action if necessary to contain the virus, including removing countries from the Travel Corridors list rapidly if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country without self-isolating becomes too high.”
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, said that to issue a blanket quarantine on France was “madness” and instead urged the Government to “quickly adopt a targeted regional approach”.
Paris had said it would impose reciprocal quarantine restrictions on British travellers if the Government moved to strike France from its “green list”.
Another senior backbencher suggested that “diplomacy” around the ongoing migrant crisis could increase tensions with France.
“There is a lot of tension with the French over the Channel crossings as it is and Paris has been reluctant to heed UK demands,” the MP said.
One travel industry source said the move to remove France from quarantine free travel was a "disaster" for the sector.
"Summer is effectively cancelled. We had hoped that France would manage to cling on," the source said.
"This will be the death knell for many travel companies. The Government needs to reassess the way it imposes quarantine fast - we need a regional approach now."