Coronavirus crisis: France imposes two week quarantine on British travellers

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The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, who announced the new requirements on Friday, has reportedly received backlash both in the UK and abroad. Ms Patel said, during the daily Downing Street briefing, that anyone arriving into the UK from June 8 will be legally required to self-isolate for two weeks or risk paying a fine of up to £3,200.

On Saturday, the French government said it “regretted” Britain’s decision to introduce a two-week quarantine for arrivals.

In a tweet on Friday, the French Embassy in the UK said: “France will reciprocally ask travellers arriving from the UK to go into quarantine.”

They added: “The travellers from the UK, whatever their nationality, will be asked to carry out a fortnight when the British measure of a fortnight, announced this evening, comes into force.”

France’s AFP quoted the interior ministry as saying: “We take note of the British government’s decision and we regret it.

“France is ready to put in place a reciprocal measure as soon as the system comes into force on the British side.”

Italy has reportedly said that no discussions had yet taken place between them and the UK.

Speaking to BBC Radio’s Today programme, the Italian ambassador to the UK, Raffaele Trombetta said: “There is always a large number of British tourists coming to Italy, it’s one of Britain’s preferred destinations.

“We had 40 million trips from the UK to Italy last year. We know how much they love Italy. We are still open, welcoming them.

“We believe that this pandemic is a global problem so the best thing to do is to tackle it with a coordinated approach.”

Italy has plans to lift quarantine rules for those travelling from the UK and the EU from June 3.

Mr Trombetta added: “We have made it clear what we are going to do and it’s important for British people to know that they can come to Italy.

“We understand that the UK’s new rules will be reassessed after three weeks so hopefully there will be an easing of the measures as we are doing in Italy.”

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Some exceptions to the new UK quarantine rules for travellers were also announced on Friday for those living in Ireland and healthcare workers.

But Ms Patel’s plans have reportedly been criticised by the travel industry who highlighted how those arriving in the UK will still be allowed to use public transport to reach their address and possibly infect others on their way.

They also allegedly pointed out that some travellers may first fly to Ireland, who are exempt from the quarantine rules, before then going to Britain.

Ryanair, one of Europe’s largest airlines, was among the first to express their anger towards the new guidelines.

In a statement, Ryanair’s Group CEO, Michael O’Leary said: “14 day quarantines are ineffective and unimplementable. Requiring international arrivals to quarantine only after they have used multiple public transport providers to get from the airport to their ultimate destination has no basis in science or medicine.

“We strongly urge Europe’s Governments, especially those in Ireland and the UK, to mandate to the wearing of face masks for airline, train and (London) underground passengers, as this is the best and most effective way to limit the spread of Covid-19 in public transport environments where social distancing is not possible.”

Under the new guidelines, travellers at all ports and airports will be required to go into self-isolation for 14 days and to provide an address and contact details.

The Home Office said, the arrivals will not be allowed to accept visitors, unless they are providing essential support, and they should not leave their address to buy food or other essentials “where they can rely on others”.

Public health officials will reportedly conduct approximately 100 spot checks every day to ensure that arrivals are sticking to the quarantine guidelines.

Those checks are expected to start from mid-June.

Travellers arriving into the UK without arranged accommodation will have to pay for Government-arranged accommodation themselves.

Ms Patel said the guidelines on this quarantine will be reviewed every three weeks.

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