No, France has not imposed quarantine on UK arrivals

There is – still – no quarantine requirement for people coming into France from the UK, despite some mixed messages.

17 September 2020
By Connexion journalist

The Connexion has sought to clarify the situation today, since there were contradictory statements on some key official sites relating to coronavirus travel rules.

A threat of a French quarantine initially arose when a junior minister in the Foreign Affair’s Ministry (in charge of European affairs) tweeted that there would be “reciprocal measures” after the UK brought in a new quarantine requirement for arrivals from France starting on Saturday August 15 at 4:00.

On August 17 a press spokesman for the same ministry then told The Connexion that France regretted the UK’s decision to impose a quarantine and would rapidly put in place reciprocal measures, of which the details were being studied. However by August 24, in an interview with France 2 Mr Beaune was still speaking of measures due to come in. On August 28 The Connexion was told no decision had yet been made.

However while checking the official Interior Ministry web page about Covid-19 and travelling into France we noted today that it stated: “Travellers coming from outside the EEA and travellers coming from the United Kingdom, will be invited to carry out a voluntary 14-day quarantine at their home or in a dedicated place put at their disposal, once they arrive on French territory”.

It is unclear when the reference to the UK was added, but the section was dated August 18. The page covers formalities and paperwork required for coming into France from different parts of the world.

When we queried this with the Interior Minstry, a spokesman said that the putting in place or not of a quarantine was a Foreign Affairs Ministry matter and they would have simply passed on information obtained from the other ministry. 

However the statement is contradicted by Foreign Affairs Ministry sites such as its Advice for Foreign Nationals in France and the French Consulate in London, as well as the French government’s page about Coronavirus news. We did not obtain a response to queries to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The UK’s travel advice for France also states there is no French quarantine. 

The Connexion today also noted mixed messages from travel companies, with Ryanair linking to the Interior Ministry’s web page on travelling into France (detailing a French quarantine requirement) but British Airways linking to the UK government’s travel advice (which says this not needed).

Meanwhile in information for travellers from the UK to France the website of the Eurostar trains only refers to a British quarantine requirement on return to the UK, but Eurotunnel’s website was this morning referring to travellers into France being required to self-isolate for 14 days. The latter page was updated after we drew the firm’s attention to it today.

In fact there is no change to the quarantine policy at this time between France and the UK, The Connexion has learned.

The British Embassy in Paris has been informed that there is a small error on the French Interior Ministry website which the ministry will look to correct.

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