France and Netherlands quarantine: What you need to know as Government imposes new travel restrictions
The Government has announced new travel restrictions for travellers from France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba.
It means that those arriving in the UK after 4am on Saturday will be required to spend 14 days in self-isolation due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases in all six destinations.
The move, which applies throughout the UK, comes after Boris Johnson promised to be “absolutely ruthless” in decisions about imposing quarantine restrictions on countries.
The Foreign Office has updated its advice to warn against all but essential travel to France because of the coronavirus risk.
Department for Transport officials said that data from France shows that over the past week there has been a 66% increase in newly reported cases and a 52% increase in weekly incidence rate per 100,000 population, indicating a sharp rise in Covid-19.
The latest 14-day cumulative figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show 32.1 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in France, compared with 18.5 in the UK.
The decision to add the Netherlands was made after a 52% increase in newly reported cases between August 7 and 13 after a consistent series of rises in previous weeks.
Over the past week, there has been a 273% increase in newly reported cases in Turks & Caicos, a 1,106% increase in Aruba and a 105% rise in Malta.
Now, hundreds of thousands of British tourists in France face a race to get home before quarantine restrictions are imposed.
But Channel Tunnel operator Getlink warned that many travellers may not be able to get back to the UK.
John Keefe, Getlink’s director of public affairs, told BBC’s Newsnight the trains were “already pretty much fully booked” on Friday.
“The important thing is that people understand that it’s not going to be easy to get back and they have to be sensible about this and not get themselves into difficulties,” he said.
The move will also come as a bitter blow to the hard-pressed French tourism industry which relies heavily on visitors from the UK.
Meanwhile France’s secretary of state for European affairs said the UK decision would lead to “reciprocal measures” across the Channel.
Clement Beaune tweeted: “A British decision which we regret and which will lead to reciprocal measures, all in hoping for a return for normal as soon as possible.”
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