UK travelers returning from France frustrated after missing ‘unfair’ quarantine deadline

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Travelers returning to the UK from France have expressed frustration after missing the quarantine deadline by several hours.

Eurostar services to St Pancras from Paris appeared to be quieter than Friday, which saw thousands of passengers grab higher-priced tickets to get home before 4 a.m. on Saturday to avoid a fortnight of self-isolation.

Quarantine conditions also apply to travelers returning to or visiting the UK from the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba.

After returning to the UK on Saturday, Sanne Williams, who works at a retirement home, said she was at risk of losing a week’s pay.

She said it was too expensive to change her ticket for Friday, adding, “I’m obviously bored. I was supposed to go back to work on the 21st, but now I’ll be home for another week with no money.

“Of course I will quarantine, they have all my details, passport, travel time.”

Travelers returning to UK from France risk two weeks in quarantine (PA)

Meanwhile, three friends arriving in St Pancras have said they will have to self-isolate despite all testing negative for the coronavirus last week.

Schoolboy Lou Le Mener, 23, student Aurelia Crea and IT worker Marine Coupe, 25, all of French nationality living together in London, returned on Saturday evening after visiting their families.

“We wanted to come back yesterday, but it was around 300 euros a ticket and the website was collapsing,” Ms Crea said.

“Then there are a lot of people in one place, crowded trying to come back. The Eurostar was very calm today.

Flights sold out, ticket prices soared after Thursday’s announcement (PA)

“I think it’s unfair for us to have to quarantine but we will. In Paris we have to wear masks almost everywhere, we have already felt trapped there and now we are trapped again. ”

Ms Coupe added: “It doesn’t really make sense. The UK was the last to be quarantined and now it is introducing these strict measures. ”

Natalie Bunch, from London, who works in publishing, arrived in France late Wednesday and debated whether to shorten her trip to seven days, but decided to stay.

“The almost comical part of this is the number of people who have rushed back to the UK to avoid quarantine but could be carriers of the virus and therefore spread it without ramifications,” she said.

A traveler wearing a face mask arrives from Paris (PA)

“Right now the rules say you are allowed to take public transport to get home from quarantine, which is utter ridiculous.

“How many people could the two of us come into contact with and possibly transmit the virus with on this trip? Even if we wore masks and cleaned regularly? ”

Tens of thousands of British tourists to France made last-minute offers to beat the quarantine on Friday, with higher prices for plane, train and ferry tickets, with some airfares about six times as expensive than usual.

Passengers disembark from a train from Paris to London St Pancras (PA)

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, the train service that carries vehicles through the Channel Tunnel, said on Friday it was carrying nearly 30% more vehicles from France to the UK than expected.

Some 22 additional departures have been scheduled, carrying more than 30,000 passengers in 11,600 vehicles, he said.

The race to return home was prompted by the decision to impose a 14-day self-isolation quarantine on travelers from France due to the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country.

Additional reports from the Press Association

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