Image source: www.cidrap.umn.edu
On Friday, hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers faced the prospect of having to go into self-isolation for 14 days. They will have to go into self-isolation when they return home. After a recent pick-up in coronavirus infections, the British government has re-imposed quarantine restrictions on France.
The government, in a late announcement on Thursday, said that France is being removed from the list of nations exempted from quarantine because of the increase in coronavirus infections. The infections have surged by 66% in the previous week. In the quarantine list, along with France, Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, and the Caribbean islands of Turks & Caicos and Aruba have also been added.
Anyone who is returning after 4 a.m. local time on Saturday will be required to spend 14 days in self-isolation. This time frame will prompt many people, specifically those who are not working from home, to return home before this time frame.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said that this decision should not have come as a surprise since the government has been consistently saying that infection rates will continue to be monitored by it while assessing the list of safe countries.
He said that unfortunately, this virus does not play ball. That is why people will only look at their own situations. He said that he thought that a lot of people would have already been aware of this possibility in France and in some of the other countries.
The rush back is supposed to more prominent in Spain which is the second most popular tourist-destination after Spain. Spain was put on the quarantine list last month. Anyone considering a swift return home is being urged by the travel companies to check whether they will be able to do so.
The travelers were warned by Getlink, which operates the Channel tunnel rail service linking France and Britain, that they may not be able to get back in time as services are heavily booked.
On Friday, Getlink’s director of Public Affairs, John Keefe, said that the trains were already pretty much booked.
He said that there might be some possibility of adding additional trains in the off-peak periods, but he insisted that travelers should check online before they head to the terminal.
The increase in the number of infections rising in Britain is not thought to be increasing at the same pace as in the countries that are added to the quarantine list.
On Thursday, Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, said that everyone understands that one does not allow the population to be re-infected or the disease to get in again during a pandemic.
The tourism industry of France is heavily reliant on tourists from Britain and the decision is a huge blow to the tourists.
Clement Beaune, Junior minister for European Affairs of France was indicative that France will respond in kind.
He said in a tweet that the British decision is regretted by them and it will prompt a reciprocity measure in hope that they go back to normal as soon as possible.
Many travel companies have criticized the quarantine approach of the UK. These travel companies have been urging a change of track such as a ramp-up in the testing of all the arrivals in the country.
The proposal is not as simple as it sounds, since many people may not test positive at the time of arrival but might later get positive, said Shapps.
He also said that they need to have a system that is more accurate than this before they can tell people that now you have been tested and will not be needing quarantine any more.