Thousands of holidaymakers have rushed back to the UK in a bid to avoid quarantine measures imposed on France, which came into force on Saturday.
The 14-day isolation requirement from 04:00 BST also applied to people arriving from the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, and Aruba.
People arriving these destinations from 4am Saturday 15 August 2020 will need to self-isolate for 2 weeks as the countries are removed from the travel exemptions lists of all four home nations – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The deadline left many travellers rushing for limited plane, train or ferry tickets. Eurotunnel trains sold out on Friday, ferry services increased capacity and air travellers faced price rises.
France has said it would take reciprocal measures. The Netherlands is warming its citizens against non-essential travel to UK, will not introduce reciprocal measures.
The countries were targeted for quarantine restrictions because their infections rates exceeded 20 cases per 100,000 people over seven days.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that there were about 160,000 British holidaymakers in France. “The last thing we want to do is to have people returning and bringing the infection with them,” he told the BBC.
The Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England indicated a significant change in coronavirus (COVID-19) risk in all 6 destinations, leading to ministers removing these from the current list of travel corridors.
Data from France shows that over the week 7-13 August there has been a 66% increase in newly reported cases and a 52% increase in weekly incidence rate per 100,000 population, indicating a sharp rise in COVID-19.
There has been a consistent increase in newly reported cases in the Netherlands over the past four weeks, with a 52% increase in newly reported cases between 7-13 August. Over the past week, there has been a 273% increase in newly reported cases in the Turks and Caicos Islands and 1,106% increase in newly reported cases in Aruba. Malta has had a 105% increase in newly reported cases over the past seven days.
At the same time, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has also updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to France, Monaco, the Netherlands, Malta, Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba.
People currently in France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba are encouraged to follow the local rules and check the FCO travel advice pages on GOV.UK for further information.
The government is asking employers to be understanding of those returning from these destinations who now will need to self-isolate and has invested over £9bn to strengthen the welfare safety net, helping to ensure access for those in need.
People planning to travel overseas are being asked be mindful that disruption is possible, in order to protect public health. The UK Government is prepared to remove countries from the travel corridors list rapidly if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country without self-isolating becomes too high. Passengers should therefore carefully consider their ability to self-isolate on return before deciding to travel overseas in the event that advice changes.
Travellers are being advised to check the latest advice from the FCO, given the potential for changing coronavirus infection rates to affect both the advice about travelling to other countries and rules about self-isolation on return.
All travellers, including those from exempt destinations, will still be required to show a completed passenger locator form on arrival into the UK unless they fall into a small group of exemptions, with failure to do so resulting in a £100 fine.
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