Half a million UK holidaymakers desperate to return home as holidays are ruined

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Half a million Britons face a desperate race to return home after France was excluded from the government’s security list last night.

Thousands of people were set to trigger a ‘mini Dunkirk’ as they prepare to evacuate for Blighty amid a spike in coronavirus cases at vacation spots.

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British holidaymakers in France struggle to return homeCredit: AP: Associated Press
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Brits will have to rush desperately to Eurostar or ferries to try and secure their places to return homeCredit: Rex Features

The government’s decision gives half a million Britons currently in France less than a day to return if they want to avoid going into quarantine.

But with full flights and the crowded Channel Tunnel, many will miss the 4 a.m. deadline tomorrow.

Families with children are now at risk of missing the first week of school, as 14-day self-isolation measures are re-imposed.

500,000 additional Britons who are due to travel to France in the coming weeks will see their vacation plans plunged into chaos.


What we know so far:


The Netherlands and Malta were also added to the quarantine list last night.

Boris Johnson said yesterday he had to be “absolutely ruthless” to enforce travel rules, “even with our closest and dearest friends and partners”

The Prime Minister added: “I think everyone understands this.

“We cannot be content from a distance with our own situation.

“Everyone understands that in the event of a pandemic, you do not allow our population to be re-infected or the disease to return.

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps announced the new travel rules last night8
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps announced the new travel rules last night
Half a million Britons face nightmarish mission to return home, and many are heading to Calais

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Half a million Britons face nightmarish mission to return home, and many are heading to Calais
Britons returning from France will have to quarantine for two weeks after 4 a.m. on Saturday

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Britons returning from France will have to quarantine for two weeks after 4 a.m. on Saturday Credit: AFP or licensors

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“This is why the quarantine measures are very important and we must apply them very strictly. “

Seat prices on a British Airways flight from Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport to Heathrow quadrupled – from £ 100 to £ 407 – on Friday after the government’s announcement.

Channel Tunnel operator Getlink said additional services could be put in place, but warned that many passengers are at risk of not meeting the quarantine deadline.

John Keefe, Getlink’s director of public affairs, told BBC Newsnight that trains were “already nearly full” today.

BACK TO NOW!

Le Soleil can reveal that concerned doctors intervened to warn the Prime Minister that France’s figures were starting to spiral out of control.

Ministers had hoped that the cases would level out so they did not have to take him off the “green list” – countries where people do not have to isolate themselves on their return.

But France yesterday registered 2,669 new cases of Covid-19 – a record outside of the lockdown.

The 14-day infection rate rose to 32.1 per 100,000 population.

Anyone who breaks the quarantine rules could face a fine of £ 1,000.

The Prime Minister risks a row with French President Emmanuel Macron, who was on vacation yesterday in the south of France.

Downing Street also fears that tit-for-tat quarantine measures will be imposed by France on all British tourists who arrive there next week.

Restrictions have been imposed on 20 of France’s largest cities.
Paris, Toulouse, Lille and Biarritz are among those ordering people to wear masks in outdoor spaces.

Travel experts have warned that any quarantine decision on France – Britain’s second most popular holiday destination – will be another blow to an industry reeling from Covid.

QUARANTAINE Q&R

Q: What is quarantine?

A: ANYONE returning from France, Malta or the Netherlands will need to complete an online passenger locator form upon arrival in the UK.
You will need to indicate how you traveled, your contact details and the address where you will isolate yourself for 14 days.

You can have basic necessities delivered to you, but you should stay away from others.

Q: What if I don’t quarantine?

A: YOU could be fined up to £ 1000. If you move an address after giving one for quarantine and fail to update it, you can be fined up to £ 3,200.

Q: I have booked flights to a quarantined country. Can I get my money back if I don’t want to travel?

A: EASYJET and British Airways offer customers the option of changing their booking, accepting a credit note or getting a refund.

Ryanair will not offer a refund but will allow you to change flight dates without any change fees. Many airlines plan to keep flying, so it’s important to check.

Q: Will the Eurotunnel and ferry crossings be canceled? Will I get my money back?

A: The FERRY and Eurotunnel companies plan to continue their services for the time being. If you choose not to travel, contact them about your options.

Most offer to postpone or rearrange crossings for later in the year if you have booked a flexible ticket.

Other tickets will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but you may be able to rebook.

France has seen its infection rate increase in recent days8
France has seen its infection rate increase in recent daysCredit: EPA

Paul Charles, of consultancy The PC Agency, said: “No one in the travel industry wants France to be added to the quarantine list.

“It’s such a vital market to stay open.

He added: “The government must be ruthless in providing the best testing regime in the world rather than an economically damaging quarantine policy.

The destinations of Monaco and the Caribbean, Aruba and the Turks and Caicos Islands, have also been removed from the green list, meaning people returning from those places tomorrow will also have to self-isolate for 14 days.

But Gibraltar was pardoned. The British returning from France last night gave their reaction.

Robert Chmielewski, 33, of Basingstoke, Hants, was on a ferry to the UK after visiting friends.

GREAT GETAWAY

He said, “I knew the quarantine was coming. Some announcements were chaos, so I thought I should go home.

“It’s a bit of luck. ”

Ruth Thompson, 35, from Bristol, said: “I had to get out.

“The cases have been increasing in recent days. It had become too risky.

Roger Slight, 50, Gerrards Cross, Bucks, went the other way but said he hoped he wasn’t affected as he is only driving through France in a motorhome.

As of Wednesday, there were 1,009 new cases of coronavirus in Britain – less than half of the total in France.

Professor Tim Spector, King’s College London, said: “It is encouraging to see the numbers drop slightly, and that isolated outbreaks in the North appear to be well contained so far.

“This is further confirmation that we are not at the start of a second wave and, rather, are still trying to end the first.

“The figures also suggest that outbreaks in countries like Belgium, France and Spain are not yet having an effect here in the UK.

“And the people who flock to the beaches and parks don’t seem to be having the negative impact expected.”

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps, announcing the new travel rules last night, added to the chaos by mistaking the deadline – saying it was Sunday instead of tomorrow.

The Sun understands Downing Street originally planned it to be Sunday, but the Scottish and Welsh governments have been pushing for tomorrow.

Employers cannot claim reimbursement for statutory sick pay and have no obligation to pay wages to people in quarantine, although many do.

Britons having no hope of returning before the changes will be able to claim universal credit if they are not paid during their self-isolation.

However, Conservative backbenchers are calling on the government to pay the salaries of tourists if they are trapped by rule changes when they are already away.

The Foreign Office will advise against all “non-essential” travel to France – but that means those who have to go on vacation will be able to claim their cash back.

Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte and the rest of their family near the island of Porquerolles

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Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte and the rest of their family near the island of PorquerollesCrédit: The Mega Agency

Holland, Malta at risk of being added to UK quarantine list after coronavirus cases increase



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