Confusion over French reciprocal quarantine for UK arrivals

Confusion continues as to whether or not France is to reintroduce a quarantine requirement for passengers arriving in the country from the UK.

17 August 2020
By Liv Rowland

The British Embassy told Connexion this morning that although the French government had stated its intention to bring in a reciprocal requirement in response to the UK’s decision to reinstate quarantine for arrivals from France, there had been no official announcement as yet and no information as to when this may start.

A French Foreign Affairs Ministry source this morning also confirmed to The Connexion that the government would be rapidly putting in place reciprocal measures, for which the details are being studied. He said the Interior Ministry would be responsible for the practicalities, and we have asked for more clarification from this ministry.

Minister for European Affairs Clément Beaune also stated in a tweet on Friday last week that there would be “a reciprocal measure” in response the UK’s new quarantine rule which came into effect as of 4:00 last Saturday (August 15).

During a previous period when the UK required a quarantine for French arrivals, France reciprocated until the countries of the UK lifted their bans on July 8.

The website of the French Foreign Affairs Ministry currently states on a coronavirus information page that quarantine-free travel from countries in the European area (including the UK) will be kept under review, at least every 15 days, bearing in mind “the evolution of the health situation and the respect of reciprocity”. 

All passengers arriving from France in the UK are now required to undertake an obligatory self-isolation period of 14 days (or the whole trip if less than this) linked to recent rises in new cases in France.

When France previously had a quarantine requirement in place for people coming from the UK it was stated to be on a voluntary basis. They were asked to self-isolate in their hotel or holiday let and the government said it was up to individuals to ‘act responsibly’.

It is assumed that this would resume if quarantine requirements are reintroduced by France.

Although there is as yet no confirmation of a quarantine for arrivals in France, it should be noted that those arriving by air from foreign countries, including the UK, are being routinely asked to complete a ‘formulatire de localisation de passager pour la santé publique’ (public health passenger locator form), with similar information to that required by the UK’s passenger locator form.

Air France told Connexion that the form is a standard one issued by international air travel body IATA, which can be used in different contexts where it is necessary to trace passengers. They said they are required to hand them to airport authorities on arrival.

Aéroports de Paris, which runs the capital’s airports, said this is a French government requirement, linked to contact tracing in the context of deconfinement in France. They said the forms are destroyed after 30 days.

The forms include details of where on the plane you were sitting – in case you are found to have been next to an infected person – the address where you will be staying in France, your mobile number and email address and details of another person who may be contacted in an emergency.

Examples can be seen here in French and here in English. Air France supplies the form to passengers in both languages.

Previous stories on quarantine and Covid-19

Brittany Ferries: We may not survive UK-France quarantine 

Covid France: Why cases are up but hospitalisations are stable 

British ambassador: UK-France quarantine tough but necessary

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