Can I cross France in transit? How the UK travel quarantine rules work if returning from other countries


France has been added to the UK’s quarantine list again, meaning anyone returning from a holiday on the French coast will have to self-isolate for 14 days.Monaco, Malta, the Netherlands, Turks and Caicos and Aruba were also added to the list on Thursday evening.

The rules will go into effect on Saturday August 15 at 4 a.m. BST, with anyone arriving in the UK from any of these countries after that time being forced into quarantine.

The move comes after a spike in coronavirus cases in France, with Prime Minister Jean Castex admitting that his figures were going “in the wrong direction”.

If the rules applicable to people on vacation in France are clear, what about people who have to transit through France from another country to return home?

Here is all you need to know.

Ferries are seen in the port of Dover, as Britain imposes a 14-day quarantine on arrival from France from Saturday (Photo: Reuters)

Can I transit through France?

You will still need to self-isolate if you make a transit stop in France after 4 a.m. on Saturday.

A transit stop is a stop where passengers can get on or off a coach, ferry, train, or plane. Your ticket must state whether a stop is a public transport stop.

The only exception to this is if you stop, but no new passengers are boarding, and no existing passengers are mingling with people outside.

There are separate rules if you are driving. You don’t need to isolate yourself if you travel to a non-exempt country and don’t stop.

You also don’t need to isolate yourself if you stop, but no new people enter the vehicle and you don’t mingle with other people when you are outside the vehicle.

How to revert before restrictions start

It is estimated that nearly half a million British tourists are currently in France, while many more will have future holidays booked.

The rule change is likely to cause a stampede to ports and airports by UK tourists trying to return home before the restrictions are put in place.

People enjoy a hot, sunny day at the Cergy-Pontoise leisure center, northwest of Paris (Photo: Getty)

The Eurotunnel website would find it difficult to manage the volume of requests.

John Keefe, director of public affairs for Getlink, which operates the Channel Tunnel, told the BBC Newsnight that the trains were “already almost full” on Friday.

“We just don’t have the space to take everyone who might suddenly want to go up the coast,” he said.

You should check in advance to make sure trains or planes have space before heading to ports or airports.


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