Coronavirus: French arrivals exempt from British quarantine plans

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British border sign at an airport

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Passengers arriving from France will be exempt from the upcoming coronavirus quarantine measures in the United Kingdom.

Boris Johnson said on Sunday that rules would be imposed on people entering the UK to prevent the Covid-19 from being imported from abroad.

So far, no start or end date for the measures has been announced.

The government has already indicated that people arriving from the Republic of Ireland will not be quarantined.

However, the measures will apply to UK vacationers returning from other destinations.

Travel industry analysts have said this means that a week-long or two-week vacation abroad will be followed by two weeks of self-isolation.

The World Travel and Tourism Council has expressed concern over the new measures, saying they would damage the confidence of potential travelers.

  • What are the new travel quarantine rules?

Joint declaration

In his address to the nation on Sunday, the Prime Minister said, “I point out that it will soon be time – with much lower transmission – to impose quarantine on people entering this country by air. “

The government then clarified that the rules would apply not only to air passengers, but also to those arriving by other means of transport such as the train or ferry.

British airlines have previously stated that they have been informed that any quarantine period will last 14 days and that people may be required to provide an address upon arrival at the border.

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Following Mr. Johnson’s speech, number 10 confirmed a reciprocal agreement with the Paris government, which means the restrictions would not apply to passengers arriving from France.

In a joint statement, the British and French governments said they had agreed to “work together to advance appropriate border measures”, adding: “This cooperation is particularly necessary for the management of our common border”.

The statement added: “No quarantine measures would apply to travelers from France at this stage; all measures on both sides would be taken in a concerted and reciprocal manner.

“A working group between the two governments will be set up to ensure this consultation in the coming weeks. “

However, the announcement raised questions about whether international travelers could avoid 14 days of isolation while passing through France en route to the United Kingdom.

Number 10 indicates that further details on the new rules will be provided before their entry into force.

Confidence boost

Willie Walsh, CEO of the owner of British Airways, IAG, said that was more bad news for the travel industry.

“There is nothing positive in everything I heard the Prime Minister say yesterday,” he told MEPs in the parliamentary transport committee.

When asked why travelers from France would not be quarantined, for example in Germany, he replied, “It’s the little I don’t understand.

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Communal room

Legend

Willie Walsh, boss of British Airways parent IAG, was questioned by MPs


“We will have to wait and see the final details of what the Prime Minister intends to do. “

He added that the quarantine measures will mean that his company will have to revise its plan to return to 50% of its capacity by July.

Virginia Messina, executive director of the World Travel and Tourism Council, told the BBC Today program that she was “concerned” about the government’s new policy.

“Quarantines work when implemented early, so they probably should have been implemented much earlier in the UK,” she said.

“We think this will seriously damage the confidence of people who wish to travel or at least plan in the near future. “

Messina noted that some airports in other countries test passengers for the virus on arrival and exempt them from quarantine if they are negative.

“New normal”

Airline and airport bosses spoke to the aviation minister on Sunday about the new measures.

However, they told the BBC that they were still in the dark about basic details such as when they would come into force, when they would end, and whether they would be constantly reviewed.

Airlines request additional government support after Prime Minister confirms quarantine period will come into effect.

Airlines UK CEO Tim Alderslade said: “We all have to adapt to the new standard, including the government, but shutting down air travel this way is not the way to do it. reach. “

The government is facing a double attack on its quarantine trip, although the details of the policy are still scarce.

The pandemic is already causing acute damage to the UK aviation industry, and airline and airport managers believe quarantine will make matters worse.

They were not given the assurances they wanted when they called with the aviation minister on Sunday morning.

Opposition MPs also launched the question: “If now, why not before?” “

It is estimated that around 100,000 people have arrived in the UK since the lockdown on March 23.

Many people who have been returning home in the past few weeks have been puzzled as to whether they are expected to isolate themselves.

The government’s opinion that people arriving from China and Italy without symptoms should stay home for two weeks was withdrawn on March 13.

Heathrow Airport has said it supports the government’s goal of avoiding a second wave of infection, even if a 14-day quarantine plan amounted to a temporary border closure.

Airport general manager John Holland-Kaye, however, said the government must “urgently” establish a road map on how it would reopen the borders once the disease is over.

Air travel has been halted due to the global coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in large industry layoffs.

Ryanair announced plans to cut 3,000 workers and asked the remaining staff for a cut.

BA said it would cut 12,000 from its workforce and warned that it could not reopen at Gatwick Airport once the pandemic is over.

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