Coronavirus: Holiday plans in chaos as France and other countries taken off UK safe list

Thousands of holidaymakers are scrambling to return home or have seen their plans ruined after France and other countries were added to the UK quarantine list.

By Sophie Wills
Friday, 14th August 2020, 11:24 am

A 14-day isolation rule, which came into effect from 4am this morning (Friday, August 14) also applies to people returning from the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, and Aruba.

The Foreign Office has now warned against ‘all but essential travel’ to France.

It comes after the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England indicated a significant change in Covid-19 risk in all six destinations.

A woman wearing a protective mask looks at the Eiffel tower and its reflection on the Seine river in Paris (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Department for Transport officials said that data from France alone shows that over the past week there has been a 66 per cent increase in newly reported cases and a 52 per cent increase in weekly incidence rate per 100,000 population, indicating a sharp rise in Covid-19.

The UK’s ambassador to France, Lord Llewellyn, recognised that the quarantine announcement would be “unwelcome news” for Britons in the country, of which they are currently around 160,000.

“I want to be clear that you are not being asked to leave France immediately. If you are following safety precautions and are able to self-isolate on return then you can continue with your holiday or your visit,” he said in a video message on social media.

“You will obviously want to consider how the need to quarantine for 14 days will affect you and your family when you return home.”

Channel Tunnel operator Getlink said the service was struggling to cope with demand as the scramble to return to the UK begins.

John Keefe, Getlink’s director of public affairs, told BBC’s Newsnight the trains were “already pretty much fully booked” on Friday.

“We just haven’t got the space to take everybody who might suddenly want to come up to the coast. So what we are saying to people is amend your booking online, make sure there’s space before you travel to the terminal,” he said.

“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.

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