British travelers rush to return home to avoid COVID-19 quarantine

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 15, 2020

From 0400 tomorrow (Saturday August 15), arrivals into the United Kingdom from France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba will have to self-isolate.

Following last night's development, of the 300,000 British tourists now in France, an estimated 160,000 are expected to try to return to the United Kingdom before the measures come into force.

"As I say, I've been there myself and ended up having to quarantine as a result".

"The industry has already gone through some very tough times, and France is the second most important holiday destination for the United Kingdom travel industry after Spain, which has already had a ban imposed", he said.

"I think everybody understands that. We're just finding out here, but it's better than on the train".

Tom Duffell, who runs a small business and ended his family holiday in Nice four days early, told the BBC social distancing had "gone out of the window" in the scramble for transport, with "huge queues" at the airport.

A spokesman said 12,000 people tried to book tickets in the hour after the new rules were announced at around 10pm on Thursday, compared with just hundreds normally.

Gloria Guevara, president of the World Travel and Tourism Council, said the United Kingdom was lagging behind other countries that had "shunned quarantines" in favour of "comprehensive" testing programmes for everyone departing and arriving back into their respective countries.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said while Labour supports "evidence based measures" at the border, it was "vital" that No 10 had a "joined-up strategy" and "urgently" puts in place a specific deal to support the heavily impacted travel sector. The Foreign Office has also now changed its advice on travelling to France to "only essential travel". "The British government has not and it needs to start as a matter of urgency".

In France, there's a growing fear of a second spike of the outbreak.

France had its "travel corridor" with the United Kingdom removed along with the Netherlands, Aruba and the Malta after a sustained rise in coronavirus cases.

Some 2,524 new cases of the virus were reported by French authorities on Wednesday, the highest figure since the country introduced sweeping coronavirus restrictions in March.

The list was expanded on July 24, but the following day Spain was added back onto the quarantine list due to a rise in cases in the country, and self-isolation measures were also imposed on arrivals from Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas last week. Over the past week, there has been a 273 per cent increase in newly reported cases in the Turks and Caicos Islands and 1,106 per cent increase in newly reported cases in Aruba.

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