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Britons rush home from France to beat new quarantine rules

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Britons rush home from France to beat new quarantine rules

By Alistair Smout and Tangi Salaün



Passengers wearing protective face masks arrive from Paris at Eurostar terminal at St Pancras station, as Britain imposes a 14-day quarantine on arrival from France from Saturday, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain August 14, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls


LONDON/CALAIS, France (Reuters) - British travellers rushed home from summer holidays in France on Friday, booking planes, trains, boats and even private jets to get home before a 14-day quarantine comes into force in response to rising coronavirus infections there.


The government announced late on Thursday that it would impose a quarantine from 0300 GMT on Saturday on arrivals from France, giving an estimated 160,000 UK holidaymakers there just over 24 hours to get home or face self-isolation on return.


The sudden rule change dealt a fresh blow to tourists, airlines and tour operators. The pandemic has left many travel groups cash-strapped and fighting for survival.


Many British tourists headed towards the French port of Calais hoping to catch a ferry or a shuttle train home in time.


"We've changed our plans when we heard the news last night. We decided to head back home a day early to miss the quarantine," one British woman at a service station on the motorway to Calais said after her week in southern France.


Queues of cars built up in Calais through Friday afternoon. Ferry companies were adding extra crossings to help more people get home, Jean-Marc Puissesseau, head of the Port of Calais, told Reuters.


PrivateFly, a British-based jet provider, said it had seen three times the normal number of enquiries and bookings.


The new quarantine rules apply to France, the second-most popular holiday destination for Britons, as well as to the Netherlands and the Mediterranean island of Malta.


Spain, Britons' favourite holiday destination, came under British government quarantine rules on July 26.


"We've also had a number of enquiries from clients booked to travel to these destinations in the coming weeks to change their travel plans in order to avoid quarantine zones," PrivateFly CEO Adam Twidell said.


France warned it would reciprocate, dealing a further blow to airlines' hopes of an August recovery given they may have to cancel yet more flights.


Airline and travel shares tumbled. British Airways-owner IAG <ICAG.L> was down 6% and easyJet <EZJ.L>, which said it would operate its full schedule for the coming days, fell 7%.




When Europe first went into lockdown in March, Britain was criticised for not restricting arrivals from abroad. But since June, it has introduced strict quarantine rules for arrivals from countries with infection rates above a certain level.


This contrasts with an easing of rules at home, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered the gradual reopening of the economy to resume, weeks after pausing it.


Transport minister Grant Shapps said the government needed to balance the need to open the economy and to contain the virus. The UK recorded 1,441 COVID-19 cases, the highest daily tally since June 14, official data showed on Friday.


Shapps told BBC Radio he sympathised with travellers but that they should not be entirely surprised, given the fluid situation around the pandemic.


"Where we see countries breach a certain level of cases ... then we have no real choice but to act," he told Sky News.


Airlines UK, an industry body representing BA, easyJet and Ryanair <RYA.I>, called on Britain to implement more targeted quarantines on the regions with the highest infection rates and to bring in a testing regime.


An EU study showed that imported cases of COVID typically only account for a small share of infections when a pandemic is at its peak, but are more significant once a country has the disease under control.


(Writing by Sarah Young; Additional reporting by Kate Holton; David Milliken and Richard Lough; Editing by Nick Macfie, Hugh Lawson and Frances Kerry)



-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-08-15
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why don't they test people before boarding and send them back if found positive at the end of the chunnel, tunnel, funnel ? 🙂

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Britain’s economy now on course for ‘rapid recovery’ after coronavirus crisis

  • 15 Aug 2020, 9:18
  • Updated: 15 Aug 2020, 11:09

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The TV news on Friday was full of people rushing back to beat the deadline, and this morning was full of people who had made it; treating them as some sort of heroes for beating said deadline!


How many of those who beat the deadline have the disease without realising it, and how many others will now be infected by them?


We don't know.


If the rise in Covid 19 cases in France necessitated imposing quarantine on those arriving in the UK, then the sensible thing would have been to do so immediately. This pussy footing reaction is typical of this useless government. A government elected as one trick ponies; and they can't even get that right!

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On 8/15/2020 at 6:21 AM, Captain Monday said:

Another failure. These deadlines CREATE unneeded travel and panic.

Same thing happened in March when Americans panicked to return from

Europe packed planes then were forced to wait shoulder to shoulder for hours

in arrival "queues" while they were "questioned". No actual health checks or quarantines.

This was reported more responsible for the spread of covid in US than China.

US Imm. reported 3 million 'visitors' from the UK and Europe in the three months after the Chinese airspace closure allowing the virus to enter from those areas (though undoubtedly some Americans had it, the lion share of infections were from that side of the world into America...  

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In any case, this kind of epidemic prevention measures should be done.

The rapid spread of the epidemic is unimaginable in the medical profession.


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