If UK imposes France quarantine, will France do same back?

If the UK reinstates quarantine for arrivals from France - as is reported as becoming increasingly likely - would France reciprocate as it did before, and would it be voluntary as before?

10 August 2020
By Jane Hanks

There has been no official announcement from France to indicate that quarantine would be imposed on visitors from the UK, should the UK choose to impose it on visitors from France.

When Connexion contacted the official Covid-19 helpline in France to ask whether anyone in the UK planning to go or to return to France in the near future should be concerned about facing quarantine on entry to France, we were twice told that there are no plans to reintroduce quarantine for visitors entering France from the UK in a ‘tit for tat’ move.

Coronavirus cases on rise

The helpline staff said criteria for quarantine is solely based on the number of cases of coronavirus in each country. As, at present they are low in the UK, there are no plans to re-introduce quarantine.

However figures are rising again in the UK. On Sunday August 9, 1,062, new cases were reported, the highest figure since the end of June.

Latest figures for France, for August 7, confirmed 2,288 new cases in 24 hours. No figures were given over the weekend.

No date has been set for any announcement on whether there will be quarantine for travellers from France into the UK, but the end of this week has been suggested as it coincides with the weekly Covid-19 surveillance report that the UK government publishes every Friday.

When the UK first imposed quarantine on June 8, which lasted up to July 10, France reciprocated by introducing a voluntary quarantine. In the UK, there were fines of £1,000, but in France there were no sanctions.

France says it leaves the choice up to the public’s “individual sense of responsibility and civic duty”, to do what is right to prevent them from spreading the virus.

Voluntary quarantine

When voluntary quarantine was imposed in June for travellers from the UK, it could be at the place of the person’s choice: their home, a specific accommodation or at a hotel which had been requisitioned by the government for people in isolation.

A government helpline worker told Connexion at the time: “Voluntary quarantine does not mean that people cannot go out for 14 days. They should just avoid outings as much as possible, and respect social distancing and safety guidelines.”

Those under voluntary quarantine were able to go for a walk or food shopping, but not to meet up with other people and it was not recommended to isolate with friends or family unless they were also in the same household as you before arrival.

The British Embassy in Paris, says it has no official confirmation about future French policy on quarantine for visitors from the UK, and suggests readers regularly check the British Embassy's Facebook and Twitter social media pages where any updates will be posted.

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