France added to U.K. quarantine list

Editorial

The U.K. has added, among others, France and the Netherlands to its quarantine list.

From Saturday morning 04:00 BST, travellers from France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Aruba and Turks and Caicos are required to isolate for 14 days when returning to the U.K. The decision comes after France’s prime minister acknowledged that infection numbers in the country were going “the wrong way”. Clement Beaune, France’s secretary of state for European Affairs, tweeted that the measure is a matter of “regret’ for the French. France has warned that it would take “reciprocal measures”.

All added countries recently saw a surge of coronavirus infections. In the affected countries, the rate of infection exceeded 20 cases per 100,000 people. For many travellers, the measure comes in unexpected. An estimated half a million Britons are currently residing in France. A rush for Eurostar tickets followed the announced measures. Trains on Friday were “already pretty much fully booked”. “We just haven’t got the space to take everybody who might suddenly want to come up to the coast,” said John Keefe, director of public affairs at the company that operates the Channel Tunnel, to BBC Newsnight.

Airlines UK described the decision as yet “another devastating blow to the travel industry already reeling from the worst crisis in its history”. For some time now, there is controversy about the effectiveness of mandatory 14-day self-quarantines. This week it was announced that the British economy suffered a huge blow in the second quarter as it shrunk by 20.4 percent, the largest economic blow of all G7 countries. Critics, including the aviation industry and politicians, are calling upon the government to do more testing at airports and to put in place an effective track, trace and isolate system instead.

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