UK Introduces Quarantine from France
13th August 2020
Last modified on August 18th, 2020
The Foreign Office is warning against “all but essential travel” to France. It’s dealt a body blow to UK visits to the French Alps and the French Pyrenees this summer. It remains possible to drive across France to reach or return from another country.
People arriving in the UK from France on Saturday now have to quarantine for 14 days.
The measure came in at 04:00 on Saturday.
It has had an impact on all those who were in the French Alps or French Pyrenees, and those planning to go later this summer.
It comes as no great surprise, but will affect many.
It is estimated almost 160,000 British people were currently on holiday in France.
Some estimates put the figure at more than twice the number.
Many people cut short their holiday to get back before quarantine came into force.
The Eurotunnel website struggled to deal with the level of traffic and it transported 30,000 people before the deadline.
The BBC reports that Mariana Fabricante, who is trying to return from Tignes in the Alps with her family, said: “Every time I try to change the ticket, the website is busy. People would be able to make informed decisions if they had been told in advance. It’s annoying and frustrating.”
Géraldine Allot is a primary school teacher currently visiting her family in Embrun in the French Alps.
“I am disgusted,” she told the BBC on Friday.
“We have had to change all our plans: we are trying to get our money back for hotel bookings and change appointments, like the vet’s appointment for our dog [ahead of crossing into the UK].
“It will be very, very tense [to make the changes]. The situation is very stressful. It affects my holidays. I had planned my holidays to see my family whom I hadn’t seen for a year. The fact that I am obliged to go back is affecting my mental health.
“It is cutting off a big chunk of my holidays. I am not coming home for pleasure, I’m having to come home out of professional obligation. It also affects my children who had things planned when we came back. And my husband is having to take extra leave as we are now having to travel back during the week and not at the weekend.
“This quarantine is an obstacle to individual freedoms.”
Sallyanne Shallcross from Somerset and her family are on holiday in the Pyrenees in south-western France.
“We absolutely knew there was a real risk of quarantine when we travelled but the truth is, we still felt confused about the right thing to do,” she told the BBC.
The family had booked the holiday before the pandemic began and Ms Shallcross said that there had not been specific guidance against going.
“Air bridges [to other countries] were promoted, getting the economy going and firing up the engines of our country were all messages given by the government in the run-up to the summer holidays and so with no refunds available from our campsites either, here we are.”
Ms Shallcross told the BBC that her children would now miss the first week of the new school term.
“Going home early isn’t on the cards for us, there has been an influx of Britons attempting to travel this morning, websites are crashing and we really wouldn’t have travelled at all if quarantine wasn’t achievable when we got home.
“Dettol spray, sanitiser and staying in the outdoors is how we continue to manage here. Online grocery delivery slots, gardening and an additional week of painful homeschooling is how we will manage at home.
“It’s a shame, quarantine is not what we wanted but know that it is important to do and feel lucky to have had a change of scenery before we face the grim predictions of a restricted winter.”
There are now around 2,500 cases of coronavirus in France per day.
France reported 2,846 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours on Friday – the highest number since lockdown restrictions were eased.
Paris and the region around Marseille have been classed as high-risk Covid-19 zones.
Health officials in France announced 2,669 new cases late on Thursday and a rise in hospital admissions, particularly among those under 40.
According to the data company Statista, people from the UK paid 10.35 million visits to France last year, putting it second behind Spain, with 18.12 million, in terms of popularity.
Quarantine measures were imposed for Spain on 25th July.
The ending of more so-called “travel corridors” – movement between the UK and the other countries with the need to self-isolate on return to the UK – follows a “significant change” in the risk of contracting Covid-19, according to the Department for Transport.
It added that there had been a 66% increase in newly reported cases per 100,000 people in France since last Friday.
The Netherlands, Malta, Monaco, Turks and Caicos and Aruba have similar restrictions imposed.
Ahead of a government meeting on quarantine measures on Thursday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to be “absolutely ruthless” in deciding on rules for holidaymakers from abroad.
“We can’t be remotely complacent about our own situation. Everybody understands that in a pandemic you don’t allow our population to be re-infected or the disease to come back in,” he said.
It will deal a devastating blow to the summer alpine holiday market from the UK to France.
All travellers returning from France are asked to provide an address in the UK where they will self-isolate.
They can be fined £100 for failing to fill in a form with these details.
People who do not self-isolate can be fined up to £1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and £480 in Scotland.
There are fines up to £5,000 for persistent offenders.
Self-drive holidays to other countries in the Alps via France still seem possible as long as you do not leave your vehicle when driving through France, and do not let anyone in.
That’s according to the latest government advice that we have checked.
See here for the full details of UK’s Coronoavirus travel corridors
This means people from the UK can still visit Austria, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland in a private car going via France.
The countries have different entry requirements for foreigners so people will need to check each country’s rules and regulations.
See here for the full story on PlanetSKI:
“Here at PlanetSKI we are planning a trip to Italy and Switzerland later this month and believe it may still be possible to reach and return from the alpine countries via France,” said the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove.
“It is possible to arrive in France on a channel crossing and drive across to Germany or northern Switzerland without the need to leave the car.
“The journey can easily be done on a full tank of fuel.
“I am going to double check the rules, and I advise anyone else considering a similar journey to do the same.
“I am hoping, and looking forward, to being in the Italian Alps soon.”