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U-turn: 14-day UK quarantine for arrivals from France

People travelling to the UK from France will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, in an apparent U-turn on previous policy. It comes as the French interior minister criticises the lack of European coordination on borders.

Previously, a joint statement between the UK and France, published on May 10, that said “no quarantine measures would apply to travellers coming from France at this stage”.

Read more: No UK quarantine for travellers from France

But this statement led to the EU warning the UK not to single out one nation, and some experts suggesting that the exemption would be unworkable.

This week, a spokesperson for the UK Prime Minister denied that there was a French exemption, and insisted that the original statement had referred to the need for “cooperation...particularly necessary for the management of our common border”.

According to the most recent announcement, all travellers from France will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Those that have nowhere to stay must remain in accommodation provided by the authorities.

In his address on Sunday May 10, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I am serving notice that it will soon be the time - with transmission significantly lower - to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air."

It has now been confirmed that this will indeed apply to passengers from France, including those arriving in the UK by air, train, and ferry.

It is not thought that it will apply to freight drivers - to allow goods to continue to be transported without delay - or to researchers working on Covid-19.

It will apply to all other normal travellers. It will also apply to UK citizens arriving back in the UK after holidays to France, and will therefore apply to UK citizens returning to the UK from second homes in France.

This change does not affect arrivals from the Republic of Ireland, who will still be exempt from quarantine.

No definite date for the start of the quarantine rules has yet been announced.


France calls for ‘coordinated decisions’

The news comes in the same week as French interior minister Christophe Castaner has criticised the “unilateral decisions” made by certain European member states on the reopening of borders post-Covid-19.

On Saturday May 16, he said: “The unilateral decision by Spain, this week, [and] of Italy announced this morning, does not make it easier for us to work in solidarity. I will speak with my Italian counterpart this weekend so that we can adapt our rules.

“It is essential that we have coordinated decisions on a European level, especially within the Schengen Area. That is not the case today.”

Spain has recently announced that it will restrict all non-essential travel across its borders, and impose a 14-day quarantine on international arrivals. But this weekend, Italy announced that it would reopen its borders from June 3, and would no longer require quarantine.

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