The resurgence of the coronavirus epidemic in France is worrying across the Channel. From Saturday August 15, people from France traveling to the UK will be subject to a two-week quarantine, the UK government said on Thursday, immediately earning a promise of a “Reciprocity measure” from Paris.
The British decision, which also affects several other countries and islands, follows a worrying upsurge in the coronavirus epidemic in these territories. “Statistics show that we must remove France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta (…) from our list of travel corridors to keep infection rates down”, Transport Minister Grant Shapps said on Twitter. “If you arrive in the UK from any of these destinations after 4am GMT on Saturday, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days”, he specifies.
Data shows we need to remove France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos & Aruba from our list of #coronavirus Travel Corridors to keep infection rates DOWN. If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) August 13, 2020
Paris reacted strongly to this announcement on Thursday evening. This is’“A British decision which we regret and which will lead to a measure of reciprocity, hoping for a return to normal as soon as possible”, tweeted the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune.
Half a million Britons in France
This measure should also hit hard the many Britons currently on vacation in France or in the other European countries concerned and could cause an exodus of holidaymakers wishing to escape this constraint on their return. It is estimated that around half a million Britons are currently on vacation in France.
It comes as the monitoring indicators for the Covid-19 epidemic in France “Continue to deteriorate”, indicated Thursday, August 13 the Directorate General of Health (DGS), with a number of new confirmed cases which “Steadily increasing”. Over the past 24 hours, 2,669 new cases have been detected (against 2,524 on Wednesday), she noted in her daily update.
→ STATE OF PLAY. Covid-19 in France, a contrasting situation on the epidemic front
London had initially imposed a quarantine on all travelers arriving on its soil, before finally opting for the creation of “Travel corridors” exempting certain countries of origin from the obligation to isolate themselves.
The quarantine was reintroduced at the end of July for passengers arriving from Spain. The move had taken airlines by surprise, as well as thousands of Britons about to go on vacation. The quarantine was also reintroduced last week for people arriving from Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas.
Great Britain, the country in Europe most affected by the virus, has so far deplored more than 41,000 deaths and its Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has been sharply criticized in his country for its management of the health crisis.
Reopening of casinos and bowling alleys
London has also announced the reopening in England of casinos, bowling alleys and outdoor ice rinks. Theaters and performance halls will also be able to reopen by maintaining physical distancing between customers.
“Two weeks ago, the National Bureau of Statistics was concerned about a slight increase in the number of people tested positive in England. This situation seems to have stabilized ”, indicate the services of the Prime Minister in a press release. “We are in a position to announce new changes that will allow more people to return to work and the public to benefit more from what has been missing.”, note Boris Johnson. “But as I have always said, we will not hesitate to apply the brake if necessary”, he added.
At the same time as these reductions, the government announced the doubling of the fine imposed on those who “Repeatedly override the rules for wearing a mask”, to a maximum of 3,200 pounds (3,500 €). New rules will also target those who “Will organize rave parties or other illegal gatherings of more than 30 people”. “We cannot be complacent”, said Boris Johnson, as the UK is currently registering more than 1,000 new positive cases per day.