Holidaymakers in France, Malta and the Netherlands will have to self-isolate on their return to the UK. The measure throws around half a million holiday plans into disarray. Aruba, Monaco, Turks & Caicos are also on quarantine list.
The last-minute quarantine measures come into play at 4am on Saturday prompting many travellers in France to rush to ports and airports to avoid the 14-day self-isolation ruling.
Fares across the board – flights, Eurostar and ferries – have increased as demand has increased with minimal capacity available on already reduced services. Those unable to find a passage home will have to continue with their trip and self-isolate on their return.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to strip France from the “green” list after it emerged that the country has experienced a sharp rise in coronavirus infections.
Recently a quarantine was imposed at six hours’ notice on travellers from Spain causing similar mayhem in the scramble to get home.
Clément Beaune, a French junior European affairs minister, suggested that France may put into place a tit-for-tat quarantine measure..
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.”
On Thursday, the country’s health ministry reported 2,699 new infections in 24 hours.
On Thursday Mr Johnson said the Government would be “absolutely ruthless” with imposing the measures, even with “our closest and dearest partners”.
The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba were also removed from the travel exemptions list, effective from 4am on Saturday thanks to a “significant change in Covid-19 risk”.
The advice from The Foreign Office has been updated advising against all but essential travel to the six countries – effectively banning Brits from their two favourite holiday destinations of Spain and France.
The UK, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps 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.”
NOTE: Anyone arriving in Britain must complete a “passenger locator form“, with details of where they will self-isolate if returning from a country under quarantine restrictions. The form is available on the government website and should be checked by border officials. It also asks for passport details and travel booking references to assist with track and trace.