France to introduce compulsory quarantine on British tourists ahead of summer holidays

Johan Lundgren: It’s legal to travel to amber list countries

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France has become the latest European country to introduce restrictions on UK tourists due to the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant. England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Witty, has said the variant is “more transmissible”, with the UK recording 3,424 cases of it last week.

Last week, Germany imposed a two-week quarantine on UK arrivals and Australia banned direct UK flights from June 1.

French ministers are now preparing to place Britain on its equivalent of the “amber” list, with self-isolation supervised by police with powers to issue fines.

These could be up to £1,500 for those who do not comply.

The new regime is expected to be introduced within days.

It could see Britons subject to quarantine for 10 days as well as present negative COVID-19 tests.

Countries including Brazil, India, Argentina and Turkey are also on France’s mandatory quarantine list.

A French Government spokesperson, Gabriel Attal, said the decision was taken after Germany decided to impose quarantine on arrivals from the UK.

Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor, said: “France’s decision to quarantine UK travellers in response to the Indian variant is a stark reminder of the unpredictability of international travel this year.

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“People would have already been confused about what travel is safe and permitted due to the country’s status on the UK’s amber list, and this announcement will cause even more stress for those with an upcoming booking.

“Many will be surprised to find that changing entry requirements and mandatory quarantine at your destination won’t always trigger a refund, especially for flights. 

“This demonstrates just how important it is for anyone thinking about booking a trip in the next few months to do so with a holiday company that has the most flexible booking policies available, so they are protected against significant disruption to travel plans that can often occur at short notice.”

France is currently on the UK’s “amber” list, which means those returning from the country must self-isolate for a period of 10 days upon arrival back into the UK.

Travellers returning into the country must also take a COVID-19 test on or before day two as well as on or after day eight of the quarantine period.

However, despite countries allowing Britons to visit for leisure purposes, the Government warns against travel to “amber” list countries. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously warned: “I think it’s very important for people to grasp what an ‘amber’ list country is: it is not somewhere where you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) regularly updates its travel advice. 

It said: “The health situation in France remains severe. A national curfew is in place from 9pm to 6am, during which an attestation (self-certified document) is required to leave home.

“From May 19, some restrictions are being lifted in mainland France: bar, cafe and restaurant terraces can reopen, allowing groups of up to six people. 

“Wearing face masks in enclosed public spaces has been compulsory since July 20. This applies to those aged 11 and over.

“Local authorities in an increasing number of cities and regions (including Paris), have extended this to also include outdoor public spaces. Failure to comply with these restrictions may result in a fine.

“When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

“You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK Government testing requirements.”

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