- France placed on UK travel quarantine list as coronavirus cases rise again
- Can I visit France? The latest travel advice
- Holiday quarantine: Which country will be next?
- Comment: I saw first-hand the lax French behaviour that has my family racing home
- Can I travel to Malta? The latest advice
- How to get travel insurance should you choose to ignore Foreign Office advice
British holidaymakers are racing back from France today to avoid the two-week quarantine that comes into effect at 4am on Saturday.
They face paying hundreds of pounds to make a quick exit from the country with the cheapest ticket on a Eurostar train from Paris to London going for £210 this morning.
The cost of taking a car through the Channel Tunnel on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle services on Friday morning was £260, with the operator warning those without valid bookings not to travel to the terminal. All trains after midday are fully booked. Telegraph Travel has learned of one-way flights from the south of France to the UK as high as £800
Among the up to half a million Britons holidaying in France was Kate Bussmann. “We decided to move our Eurotunnel booking forward to Thursday evening. It was a not-cheap gamble - it cost £99 to change - but we have no regrets at abandoning our holiday early,” she said.
Naomi McKee also decided to cut her family’s holiday short: “I’ve changed our channel crossing booked for Sunday [to today]. The timing of the quarantine announcement at 10pm BST (11pm French time(, seems pretty harsh. The dash for the UK is on.”
The Prime Minister decided to strip France from the “green list” after it reported a sharp rise in coronavirus infections. France has said it will bring in reciprocal measures.
Follow the latest news below.
Curfews and crackdowns: what you need to know about Covid-19 measures in Greece
Greece has been the go-to last-minute holiday destination for many Britons this summer. However, the local tourism industry continues to struggle, reports Heidi Fuller-Love.
Many of Greece’s seasonal workers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. “I have two children and really need to work, but I’m also worried about getting ill,” says Dimitris Papadopulos who turned down a hotel job in Athens because of the recent spike of Covid-19 cases in Greece’s capital city.
According to recent statistics from Greece’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the pandemic has taken a huge toll on seasonal employment: with only 43,394 jobs available this year, compared to 296,466 in 2019, there’s just not enough work to go round.
Vicky Maltabe, Human Resources manager for a well known luxury hotel chain says that the situation is heartbreaking. “I advertised a cleaning job and received 280 CVs in a single day – I had to take the phone off the hook because people were calling me all day long and pleading with me to give them the job.”
In pictures: views from around the world
Europe may be seeing spikes in infection rates, but in some corners of the continent life doesn't look too far from normality.
Meanwhile, Covid restrictions continue to ease in many countries further afield.
Listen: Which countries could be added to the quarantine list next?
The late-evening announcement that those arriving in the UK from France will soon have to quarantine for 14 days has left Britons scrambling to get home.
The Telegraph’s Deputy Travel Editor, Ben Ross joins Theodora Louloudis to discuss which countries could soon be added to the UK Government’s ‘red list’, whether France is likely to impose reciprocal measures and why this is the ‘worst case scenario' for the travel industry.
Malta quarantine: 'We couldn't get home before the isolation deadline'
France, British travellers second-favourite destination, may be leading our blog today. But Britons also make up one of the biggest groups of foreign holidaymakers in Malta.
Emily, who arrived in the archipelago on Thursday morning for a family break, told Telegraph Travel:
We were really impressed with all the checks at the airport and in the hotel. Myself and my partner are currently here with five children. Luckily, we will be out of self isolation, even if we stay all week, in time for them to restart college and school.
We have looked at earlier return flights but we couldn’t get home before the isolation deadline and the cost to return earlier and start quarantine is far too high for us to justify it.
Germany places all of Spain, except Canaries, on quarantine list
Germany is to put Spain on its quarantine list, excluding the Canaries, according to AFP.
Spain has seen infection rates climb in recent weeks, leading it to be struck from the UK's 'green list' at the end of July.
Nine border fines imposed since quarantine introduced, says Home Office
A total of nine fines have been issued at the border since quarantine restrictions were introduced, the Home Office said on Friday.
The department counts the number of fixed penalty notices issued by Border Force under the regulations.
The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), which holds details of the number of quarantine fines issued by forces in England and Wales, was unable to provide the latest figure.
Previously the body said just one person had been fined by police between June 8, when the rules were introduced, and July 27.
A possible workaround for returning from France?
One of Telegraph Travel's France experts has pointed out that if you can't secure transport back to the UK this evening you could head for a quarantine-free country first.
... or escape to a neighbouring country not on list (Italy, Switzerland, Germany) before cut-off time 4am Sat, and then fly home from there. Providing you leave France by 4am Sat, no need to self-isolate, even if you have spent previous two weeks in France.— Nicola Williams (@tripalong) August 14, 2020
Comment: The truth behind those hysterical Salcombe headlines
The Devon resort town of Salcombe, located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is among the English tourist destinations to have seen reports of overcrowding and disrespectful visitors this summer. Yet much of the chatter about 'staycationers' has been exaggerated, writes Alice Loxton.
The national press has dubbed Salcombe “Chaos-on-Sea”. ASBO-worthy youths, barred from trips to Kavos, terrorise the Devon lanes and, according to the town mayor, excessive numbers of tourists aren’t respecting the town they “claim to love”. It was only a matter of time before an intrepid GMB team swooped onto Whitestrand Pontoon to report from the belly of the beast.
So is it really true? Will Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents soon be filming in the South Hams? Will wetsuit clad families of crabbers, distracted by the struggle to attach bacon rind to a rusty fish hook, soon be bumped off their quayside spot by Mykonos Z-listers?
A stroll down Fore Street – taking around six minutes – tells me otherwise. I’ve been on holiday here for years and the scenes never change, even in 2020. Families dressed in Breton stripes peruse shop windows, yummy mummies pick up a handful of picnic chipolatas from Coleman's butcher and strangers bond over the breeding details of a Golden Labrador.
Norwegians ordered to wear face masks on public transport
Norwegians should wear face masks in public transport in and near Oslo amid a rise in Covid-19 cases, the country's government said today.
Until now, authorities in Norway had refrained from recommending wearing face masks in public.
"We recommend face masks as an extra precaution when it is difficult to maintain a distance of one metre (one yard) on public transport," Norway's Health Minister Bent Hoie told a news conference.
Holiday ruined by quarantine? These British stays offer a taste of France
If you'd been banking on a trip to France this summer, perhaps in a rural chateau or a vineyard villa, your plans will have been somewhat thwarted by the latest quarantine news.
However, Sykes Holiday Cottages has compiled a helpful list of properties with a distinctly French flavour.
How about The Folly, a quaint property in the quiet Herefordshire countryside? It sleeps two and a seven-night stay starts from £386.
Or maybe you'd prefer Oversteps House, a spacious holiday home overlooking South Sands beach in Salcombe? There's room for 16. From £4,162 for seven nights.
Do I still have to self-isolate if I drive through France or Belgium?
Belgium and France are officially off the FCO’s ‘green list’, meaning anyone arriving into the UK from the country will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
However, there is an exception for travellers who drive through Belgium or France, as many do from much of western and central Europe, to reach the UK. Annabel Fenwick Elliott delves into the rules, including taking breaks on your journey.
If you do make a stop, you don’t need to self-isolate if:
- No new people get into the vehicle
- No-one in the vehicle gets out, mixes with other people, and gets in again
You do need to self-isolate if you make a stop and:
- New people get into the vehicle, or
- Someone gets out of the vehicle, mixes with other people and gets in again
Watch: Gatwick passengers react to new UK-France quarantine rules
Hebridean Island Cruises adds Lord of the Glens to its fleet
Small ship cruise fans have been delivered some good news - Hebridean Island Cruises has added a new yacht to its fleet.
Lord of the Glens was in fact designed with the Royal Yacht Britannia in mind; it has 27 passenger cabins, which were totally refurbished in 2020. It will sail along the Caledonian Canal, between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh including Loch Ness and Oban.
Roger Allard, chairman of HP Shipping and Hebridean Island Cruises said: “The Lord of the Glens is a very appealing vessel and a perfect fit for our portfolio and existing customer demographic."
Comment: I saw first-hand the lax French behaviour that has my family racing back to Calais
The Telegraph's Kate Bussmann is among the tens of thousands of Britons caught up in the France quarantine decision. While on holiday in the country, she's noted the French have taken a different approach to Covid rules.
There is none of that awkward dance of trying to give others space to which we’ve all become accustomed. Far from it. A service station where we stopped on the drive down was alarmingly crowded, with no management of how many people were allowed in at any time. I’ve not once had to queue before going into a supermarket here, nor have I seen any signs outside small shops insisting on a maximum number of people at any time.
It is at restaurants and cafes, though, that are the most disconcerting. Once you’re seated, you can remove your mask, and I’d read that you’re supposed to put it back on when you get up from your seat to go to the toilets, for instance. But unlike back home, you don’t have to give your contact details [...]
When a man at a cafe sneezed into his hands at the table beside me a couple of days ago, he just rubbed them together and took another slurp of beer, while his wife glared at me when I failed to disguise my surprise.
Can I visit Malta? The latest advice
The Mediterranean archipelago of Malta seemed like a safe holiday bet when it was exempted from both the UK's list of countries requiring quarantine on return, and the FCO advice against all but essential travel, back in July. Eoghan Corry reported at the time that it had "fared well, with a relatively meagre death toll of nine, and only 15 active cases [currently]".
But a subsequent rise in cases has led to quarantine now being required for arrivals to the UK from Malta as of 4am on Saturday, August 15, and the FCO advising against all but essential travel there, the latter likely affecting the insurance of those with future trips booked. For those planning a trip to the country, Rachel Cranshaw details the latest guidance, including:
- Will you be covered by travel insurance?
- Are flights to Malta still operating?
- Can you get a refund?
- If you go, will you have to wear a mask?
'One day's notice is ridiculous': more from British tourists in France
My colleague Emma Beaumont has spoken to Britons struggling to book transport back from France to avoid quarantine.
Among them was Amy Skelding who arrived in Normandy on Thursday, by ferry:
When the [quarantine] news broke last night, we tried to rebook our ferry to return today but so were thousands of others and we were unable to log onto the Brittany Ferries site to amend our trip. All the crossings are fully booked this morning and we have now had to inform our managers that we must quarantine for 14 days.
Britons left with fewer options for return from France
Due to the recent Government announcement, our shuttles are now fully booked until tomorrow morning. There is no more ticket availability, and we are not selling tickets at check-in. Please do not arrive at the terminal unless you have a ticket valid for travel today. ^Vincent pic.twitter.com/aOcjMKLL41— Eurotunnel Le Shuttle (@LeShuttle) August 14, 2020
40 per cent of Scots support quarantine on English tourists
Four in ten Scots believe that English tourists should not currently be allowed to travel into Scotland, a YouGov poll has found.
The poll, which asked 1,134 Scots their view on tourists entering from other countries without needing to quarantine, reported 47 per cent of Scots quizzed support English tourists being able to enter the country without a period of isolation.
Meanwhile, few Scots would consider going to England (36 per cent) or Wales (32 per cent) on holiday this year.
Welsh village 'can't cope' as thousands of tourists flock to waterfall
Residents of a Welsh village will meet to discuss how to deal with thousands of tourists visiting a nearby waterfall, reports the BBC.
Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, Powys, is holding a public meeting to discuss the "traffic chaos" caused by Pistyll Rhaeadr visitors.
The easing of lockdown had led visitor numbers to increase from about 1,000 to 3,000 a day, Phil Facey, the waterfall's custodian and cafe owner told the new site. He said the "area can't cope".
A postcard from Amsterdam, where people are making a mad dash to the airport
Telegraph Travel's Greg Dickinson swapped London for Amsterdam last month, but now he's rushing back against the clock to avoid quarantine.
At times, during my month working remotely from Amsterdam, things have often felt a bit too good to be true – a bit “unpandemicky” (new word). There have been no snotty side-glances on pavements, no “excuse mes” because you can’t understand what on earth somebody is saying through a face mask. Life in Amsterdam has been, just about, entirely normal.
But, as it turns out, it has indeed been a bit too good to be true. When I arrived, in mid-July, daily cases were lower than 100 and the number of new cases per 100,000 was around five – a fact that informed my decision to come over with a friend to live and work in the Jordaan neighbourhood for a while.
However, the numbers were soon to rise. Earlier this week the Netherlands recorded 779 cases – its highest tally since April 24, and there are now 40 new cases per 100,000. By comparison, the UK is at 18 per 100,000.
It comes as no real surprise, then, that as of 4am tomorrow, along with France, Malta and a few other countries, the Netherlands will be etched onto the UK’s quarantine red-list with the FCO advising against all but essential travel to the country. The 14-day period of self-isolation is something that I will be dodging by the skin of my teeth when I board the 7.30pm from Schiphol to Gatwick this evening.
Quarantine 'triggered' for any country with more than 20 cases per 100,000, Grant Shapps confirms
The UK may impose quarantine on any country with more than 20 cases per 100,000 people, Grant Shapps has said.
The Transport Secretary said once infection rates reach this level it can "trigger" the removal of travel corridors, meaning travellers will have to self-isolate when they arrive in the UK for 14 days.
He told the Today programme: "With France and these other countries, Netherlands and elsewhere, the numbers have now just gone above the threshold, which is about 20 case per 100,000, but measured on a seven day rolling average. That is what the Joint BioSecurity Centre will be looking at."
Cumulative 14-day total of cases per 100,000:
- France’s: 32.1
- Netherlands: 40.2
- Malta: 74.8
- UK: 18.5
Endurance swimmer seeking Channel record hopes to avoid quarantine
Endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel is aiming to break the men’s record for the number of English Channel crossings, but she hopes the British government doesn't ruin her post-challenge celebrations.
The Australian will leave British shores at around 10am on Sunday, arriving in Calais around 10 hours and 21 miles later, spending just 10 minutes on French soil. It would be her 35th successful Channel crossing, passing the men’s record of 34 held by British athlete Kevin Murphy.
She told the PA news agency:
I have made some inquiries about what happens when I get to France.
Literally, I reach the shore and stand up on land for a couple of minutes, then it’s back in the water, swim to the support boat, and head back to England.
We don’t go anywhere near the border officials or passport control, so I’m hoping technically the quarantine thing won’t apply.
I’ve got a little celebration planned in England with the support crew, the team, the volunteers who have been so supportive throughout this.
So I am hoping the government allow us to do that without having to quarantine.
Ms McCardel was given special dispensation from Australia to travel to the UK to complete three Channel crossings in recent weeks.
28 Covid-19 deaths linked to Ruby Princess cruise ship
An inquiry into the Ruby Princess cruise ship which docked in Sydney Harbour on March 19 has found 'inexcusable' failures. 28 COVID-19 deaths have been linked to the cruise ship, as well as 900 cases of the disease; in total, 16 per cent of the crew and 40 per cent of the Australian passengers were infected with the virus.
The 320-page report described the decision to deem the ship as low risk "as inexplicable as it is unjustifiable" and "a serious failure by NSW Health."
Everyone on the ship should have been tested for coronavirus. Instead, around 2,700 passengers were allowed to disembark and continue their travels both domestically and internationally.
'British travel curbs on France are idiotic but Macron's cheap populism is just as bad'
The Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard weighs in on the new quarantine policies for travellers returning from France:
Britain and France are behaving as fatuously as each other. Common sense has gone out of the window.
The number of circulating Covid-19 infections in the UK as of yesterday was 18.5 per 100,000 based on a 14-day cumulative total, assuming that the figures are accurate, which is patently not the case. In France the figure is scarcely different at 32.1.
For this sliver of alleged margin, the British government has caused chaos for some 500,000 Britons currently in France, who cannot return in time to avoid the quarantine because there are not enough trains, ferries, or flights. They will have to isolate on their return, and some will not be able to work – again.
The sledgehammer has come down with just two or three weeks left to go for France’s full holiday season. The policy does not distinguish between regions, as if travellers are too stupid to understand the difference between Marseilles and the pristine Perigord. There is not a single Covid patient right now in the Bergerac district hospital near my farm in the region.
Travel industry on brink of collapse as fresh quarantine rules effectively cancel summer
The addition of France to the Foreign Office's 'red' list is a devastating blow for a travel industry that hoped Spain's inclusion might have been the worst of a fretful summer.
France and Spain together represent the most popular summer holiday destinations for British holidaymakers. This year has now seen the summer season shortened at both ends, a disastrous turn of events for the sector.
One travel industry source said of the decision: "Summer is effectively cancelled... We had hoped that France would manage to cling on."
Neill Ghosh, director of sales and services for luxury tour operator Original Travel, said what little hope there was has been extinguished. He said:
When the government first announced... travel corridors, there was hope in the industry that we could rescue some part of the summer travel season and we saw demand returning very quickly.
However, the changes in advice for Spain, and now additional countries, has had a significant impact on consumer confidence, not just for those destinations but for all travel. Consumers are, quite rightly, worried about where might be next. And given the obligations on tour operators to refund where Foreign Office advice changes, there is fear for us too.
Malta could be 'brought to its knees' by Foreign Office travel ban
The Maltese archipelago is reliant on tourism; the industry accounts for nearly a third of its GDP.
A former British colony where English is still an official language and red letter boxes stand bright and incongruous against honeyed limestone facades, Malta welcomed 650,000 British visitors last year. Juliet Rix spoke to locals ahead of the country's addition to the UK's quarantine list
The manager of the iconic Phoenicia Hotel, Brice Kemper, is concerned. Malta’s colonial art deco grand dame stands imperiously at the gates of the Unesco World Heritage capital Valletta and nearly half its guests are British. “If they do not come, that would have a big impact on us,” he said.
“It would be devastating,” is the blunt verdict of another leading hotel manager who did not want to be named.
Fresh restrictions in Spain amid rising infection rates
Telegraph Travel writer and Spain expert Annie Bennett has an update on Covid restrictions in Spain, which was added to the UK's quarantine list last month following a spike in cases.
Nightclubs throughout Spain can no longer open at all and bars and restaurants must close by 1am https://t.co/8YxOmt9B6X— Annie Bennett (@anniebennett) August 14, 2020
Mapped: Where is safe to travel now?
Countries with an infection rate of anything above 20 per 100,000 for a period of seven days or more are likely to be added to the quarantine list, wrote Paul Charles earlier this week.
As six more countries are struck from the safe list, it helps to stay informed of nations with lower infection rates. This map offers a clear snapshot.
Flight prices climb as high as £855 one-way as Britons dash back from France
Britons currently on holiday in France are now faced with the decision whether to pay significantly more to return home early by travelling before 4am on Saturday; or keep existing flights after this time and be forced to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to the UK, reports Lizzie Frainier.
This morning, Telegraph Travel saw one-way direct flights from Toulouse to London as high as £855. By 11am, another option with EasyJet had appeared with a direct flight for a much more reasonable £142; however, at 11:49, Skyscanner, the flight comparison site, was not showing any direct flights available from Toulouse to London. There are several options with one stopover for less than £200.
The only direct flight left from Paris to the UK at the time of writing is a £460 with British Airways; likewise Nice to London has just one direct flight with seats available, each at a whopping £772. Routes with a stopover are significantly cheaper.
Watch: 'People may have been aware this would come along', says Grant Shapps
Coronavirus "doesn't play ball" with people's plans for summer holidays, Grant Shapps has said - but people "would have been aware" that quarantine could be reimposed at any point.
The Transport Secretary this morning defended the decision to remove France, the Netherlands and other countries from the travel corridor list and urged people to contact travel operators before trying to return home.
Mapped: The 22 countries you can actually visit right now
Now that France, the Netherlands and Malta (among others) have been struck from the travel 'green list', there are 22 countries that you can travel to without restriction:
- Czech Republic
- Faroe Islands (Visitors required to take Covid-19 test at airport on arrival)
- Iceland (Open to tourists, but all arrivals must choose to pay to be tested for coronavirus or self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Children born in 2005 or later are exempt)
- San Marino
- Vatican City
What are your rights under changes to FCO advice?
Emma Coulthurst, from holiday price comparison site TravelSupermarket, lays out some key advice for consumers.
- Now that the FCO advice has changed to essential travel only for these countries (France, Malta, Netherlands), if a flight or train (e.g. Eurostar) or ferry is cancelled as a result, you are legally entitled under EU 261 regs to your money back within 7 days. However, your flight or train may still go ahead despite the FCO rule change. Transport providers are allowed to keep operating for people who still want to travel. You will need to look to change your journey to a different future date, when you can hope that the rules will have changed.
- Package holidays provide much greater consumer protection than booking your holiday elements separately: Consumers with package holidays booked to any of the destinations (most likely to be to Malta rather than France or the Netherlands) should expect to hear from their travel provider and the options will be to rebook to a different date (ask about incentives to do that) or you are entitled to cancel your package under the Package Travel Regulations and get your money back.
- For anyone with a train or plane ticket or ferry ticket to one of these countries, most travel providers are being flexible this summer and offering no change fees, if your plans need to change. However, the no change fees tend to ONLY apply UP TO a certain date before departure. Many providers require you to pay change fees closer to the date of departure. Eurostar requires changes without fees up to a fortnight before, as do easyJet. It is one week before with Ryanair.
Comment: My French holiday is in tatters thanks to an outrageous, illogical, sweeping knee-jerk decision
It is sheer insanity to force 400,000 British holidaymakers to choose between cutting their holiday short with a lemming-like last-minute flight across the Channel or enduring yet more time stuck at a home you're already sick of the sight of, writes Sasha Slater.
My Scottish grandmother and Polish-Jewish grandfather fled the continent in 1939. They'd been living in Paris and ran for the border, getting the last boat out of Belgium before the Nazis arrived. I'm not saying this is the same. But it is a heavy-handed, illogical, sweeping and outrageous way to treat your citizens. Forcing us all to make hurried, panicky, expensive and stressful choices without knowing their repercussions.
At this moment, I’m supposed to be on a Eurotunnel train to Calais with my husband and daughter in the car. My brother-in-law, two teenage nieces and large rescue greyhound, were supposed to be joining us en route. We were going to drive down to the Loire and stay the night in a cheap and cheerful hotel in Chartres.
Holiday quarantine: Which country will be next?
The Government has thrown holiday plans into chaos by removing France from its list of quarantine-free destinations to which Britons can visit without self-isolating when they get home.
Malta, the Netherlands, Monaco, Aruba and Turks & Caicos have also been added, effective from 4am on Saturday August 15.
So the question is, could your holiday destination be affected? Oliver Smith has taken a look at the most popular European countries that are currently on the UK quarantine-free list – including Greece, Italy and Turkey – and crunch how cases are on the rise.
Thunderstorms could affect last-minute flights
Thunderstorms and flash floods are expected in parts of the country this weekend following the heatwave.
The Met Office has issued yellow thunderstorm warnings for much of England and Wales.
This could potentially affect Britons booked on last-minute flights to Europe and those rushing back from France. Holidaymakers returning to Edinburgh yesterday were diverted to Glasgow as a result of thunderstorms.
Watch: 'I'm really upset' - Tourists head back to UK after France added to quarantine list
Notting Hill Carnival will be virtual this year
Held at the end of August each year, the carnival attracts more than a million visitors and is seen a symbol of interracial tolerance which dates back to the 1960s and celebrates the Afro-Caribbean community.
However this year there will be no crowded streets as the physical parade was cancelled earlier this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Instead, organisers have spent a month filming acts to be broadcast online between August 29 and 31, hoping to keep the spirit of the carnival alive and bring it to a wider audience.
"First I was very sad that it wouldn't be on the streets - I still am - but I'm very excited about the possibilities of this year taking Carnival into unique places," said the carnival's executive director Matthew Phillip.
At a glance: the Netherlands' rising infection rates
Netherlands joins France in retaliating to UK quarantine restrictions
The Netherlands told its citizens not to travel to Britain or face two weeks' isolation on their return after the UK put country on its coronavirus red list last night, reports James Crisp.
A spokesman for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, "This means that Great Britain will receive a code orange as travel advice, because the Dutch have to be quarantined there."
The Dutch code orange means holiday travel to the UK is not recommended and anyone returning must quarantine for two weeks. France last night said it would impose quarantine restrictions on travellers returning from the UK.
That means any British tourist visiting the two countries would face a month in isolation, two weeks on arrival and another fortnight on their return.
Blanket fortnight quarantine isn’t the solution, says GP
The 14-day quarantine should be replaced with testing and a shorter self-isolation period, according to Dr Anshumen Bhagat, an NHS GP and founder of on demand GP service, GPDQ:
Whilst a number of commentators suggest airport testing should be implemented to negate this blanket quarantine, this is frankly not operational as without a sufficient incubation period, this testing just does not work and on most occasions, will be too soon to show anything providing unreliable results.
A blanket fortnight quarantine isn’t the solution, though; there is a balance to be had. Instead of testing those who have travelled immediately, quarantine should still be imposed, but to a far lesser extent. This quarantine would only need to be between four and eight days, at which point those travelled – and those who they live with, if they haven’t travelled – should be tested for the virus. This allows for the incubation period to be met and will mean that infection will be shown. It will also mean that, after this shortened period, those who have travelled can make informed decisions.
New Zealand virus outbreak spreads beyond Auckland
New Zealand's resurgent outbreak has spread beyond Auckland, health officials said today.
Health Minister Chris Hipkins said there were 12 more cases of community transmission, and one probable, following the shock re-emergence of the virus in Auckland this week.
He said two of the infections were found in the North Island town of Tokoroa, around 130 miles south of Auckland.
It has resulted in around 30 people from Tokoroa who were in close contact with the infected pair being taken into quarantine and tested. The country recorded its first four cases in 102 days on Tuesday.
How to secure travel insurance for trips to France
Telegraph Travel writer Jane Knight offers a tip for those who plan to go ahead with a holiday to France.
For anyone still wanting to travel to France (assuming French govt measures allow us) you can get insurance with the very helpful folk at Campbell Irvine (for me £60 for two and a half weeks). #francequarantine— Jane Knight (@janeeknight) August 14, 2020
Campbell Irvine is among the providers listed in our guide to securing insurance if you choose to ignore foreign office advice. Others include:
- Travel and General
- Wild Frontiers
British travellers question timing of quarantine announcement
Naomi McKee is on holiday in France with her family, she told Telegraph Travel last night:
We will be okay I think/ hope as I’ve changed our channel crossing (booked for Sunday) to tomorrow. The timing of the quarantine announcement at 10pm BST/11pm French time, seems pretty harsh. The dash for the UK is on.
She will be joining tens of thousands of Britons cutting short their trips to France in an effort to avoid a two-week quarantine.
Travel insurance stands for holidaymakers already in France
Securing insurance for travel to destinations to which the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel is difficult, if not impossible.
But for those who had travelled to the six countries struck from the 'safe' list before yesterday's update, a travel insurance expert offer advice:
Antony Martin, managing director at Insurefor.com, says:
"Unless advised by their travel provider (they bring the flight forward for example), [Britons] can continue on their holiday as normal with Insurefor.com’s COVID-protection travel insurance cover in place. This includes cover if they have tested positive for COVID-19 and need medical assistance, if the hotel they have already checked into is closed due to local lockdown or COVID issues if other guests tested positive."
Latest quarantine decision will 'further damage consumer confidence,' say travel agents
The Advantage Travel Partnership, the largest consortium of travel agents in the UK, says the latest quarantine news will further damage consumer confidence. It adds that Malta is particularly worrying for its industry as the destination is more likely to be booked through an agent.
Kelly Cookes, director of leisure at The Advantage Travel Partnership, said:
To have France be removed from the Government’s safe list of travel corridors is seriously worrying for the travel industry and the economy in general given that there are so many British visitors there right now. However for the travel agent community the removal of Malta is even more worrying as it’s a destination more likely to be booked by an agent as a package holiday. We are working hard with our partners, suppliers and fellow industry leaders to encourage consumers to have the confidence to book a holiday but this latest news will further damage consumer confidence.
It's clear that these uncertain times are here to stay so flexibility is key – consumers must have more flexibility to be able to change the date of their booking and the destination should their holiday be affected by COVID-19.
Our 48-Hours’ Flexi Pledge campaign is asking the industry to increase fee free flexibility and urge the Government to give us more notice so travel agents can change bookings for customers and ensure they still have a holiday and money still flows through the system. There are still many destinations on the ‘safe’ list. I’d urge anyone wanting a summer break to contact their local travel agent who will be able to help them every step of the way.
Booked flights to France? Here's the situation for EasyJet customers
A spokesperson for the airline said:
easyJet notes the Government’s decision to impose a quarantine requirement for those travelling from France, Malta and the Netherlands.
We plan to operate our full schedule in the coming days. Customers who no longer wish to travel can transfer their flights without a change fee or receive a voucher for the value of the booking.
Should any flights be cancelled for later in August customers will be notified and informed of their options which includes transferring to an alternative flight free of charge, receiving a voucher or applying for a refund via a webform on our dedicated Covid Help Hub at easyJet.com.
Skyscanner: 24 per cent of summer bookings for last-minute trips
Skyscanner, the flight comparison website, has analysed traveller responses to the previous Spain quarantine announcement (on July 25). Its findings include:
- A rapid change in search behaviour in response to the Spain announcement; destinations without restrictions immediately entered the top searches
- Last-minute getaways: 24 per cent of bookings from the UK in July and August for economy class, return travel was for trips to departing within 1-7 days of the booking being made*
- Search data suggests travellers are looking to return to holiday favourites later in the year with Alicante, Tenerife, Malaga and Faro in the top 10 most searched destinations for October 2020. **
*Bookings on Skyscanner.net during the period 11 July – 11 August 2020.
**Search period – 11 July– 11 August 2020 for economy, return travel in October 2020.
Grant Shapps: People 'knew the risks' of travelling
Asked whether the Government will provide financial assistance to people who are out of pocket after being quarantined or who must pay more money to travel home early, Grant Shapps said people "knew the risks".
Holidaymakers went abroad "with their eyes open" and "knowing that there was a significant chance of this happening," he told BBC Breakfast this morning.
The Transport Secretary's response suggests the UK Government will not provide any assistance, which is likely to be problematic for people hit with fees of hundreds of pounds.
Urgent need for plan to protect 221,000 travel jobs, says ABTA
ABTA, the UK travel trade association for tour operators and travel agents, comments on the quarantine update:
Those currently travelling in these countries do not need to leave at this time, but they are advised to follow the advice of the local public health authority. Customers in destination should contact their travel provider if they have any questions about their return journey and those due to travel imminently should contact their travel provider to discuss their options.
The Government’s measures to restrict travel will result in livelihoods being lost unless it can step in with tailored support for the travel industry. The announcements relating to Spain, and now France, impact the two biggest destinations for British holidaymakers at the height of the summer season, affecting an industry that has had its trade significantly restricted since the start of this crisis. At this time of recession, a plan is urgently needed to protect the 221,000 jobs the travel industry sustains.
Britons in France must pay hundreds or face two-week quarantine
Travellers trying to return from France on Friday to avoid the quarantine restrictions face paying hundreds of pounds.
The cheapest ticket on a Eurostar train from Paris to London is £210, compared with £165 on Saturday.
The cost of taking a car through the Channel Tunnel on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle services on Friday morning is £260. All trains after midday are fully booked.
P&O Ferries has limited availability, but one person travelling with a car from Calais to Dover can buy a ticket for £200.
See the latest from our coronavirus live blog.
Fresh quarantine measures 'devastating blow' for industry, says Airlines UK
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the trade body for UK airlines, comments on the additions to the UK's quarantine list:
It’s another devastating blow to the travel industry already reeling from the worst crisis in its history. Having the political will to move to a sub-national approach to quarantine, in addition to a testing regime for arriving passengers so that those testing negative can avoid having to self isolate – which other countries like Germany have already implemented – is urgently needed to provide carriers and customers with additional certainty around the ability to operate this autumn and winter, avoiding broad-brush, weekly ‘stop and go’ changes to travel corridors at a national level, which have proven so disruptive to airlines and passengers alike.
Paris and Marseille declared high-risk 'red' zones
Paris and the Bouches-du-Rhone region around Marseille, both holiday destinations, have been declared as high risk 'red' zones for infection by the French government. This means the government has given the cities power to lockdown, if required.
Both Paris and Marseille have made it mandatory to wear face masks mandatory in busy public areas.
France's rising infection rates
France has seen infection rates rise sharply over the last few weeks, leading to its addition to the UK's quarantine list.
New cases hit a post-lockdown daily high on Thursday as the country’s health ministry reported 2,699 new infections in 24 hours.
Amend booking before travel to return to UK early, says Eurotunnel Le Shuttle
Advice for Britons in France from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, the railway shuttle service between France and Kent:
In light of the change to quarantine requirements for UK travellers returning from France, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle would like to advise customers currently in France, and hoping to return early, that they must amend their tickets online at eurotunnel.com, before travelling to the French terminal.
The service is already very busy this weekend and there is no additional capacity. To avoid long queues and severe disruption we strongly advise against turning up at the terminal outside the allocated time. Customers will be unable to board alternative shuttles without a valid booking.
Can I travel to France? The latest advice as country struck from 'green list'
Britons returning from France will have to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, from 4am on Saturday. You could still travel to the country, but you would be ignoring Foreign Office advice and you might also face quarantine in France.
France is expected to reciprocate soon - which means holidays to France of shorter than 14 days are effectively off-limits.
Coronavirus cases hit a post-lockdown daily high on August 13, with the French health ministry reporting 2,699 infections in 24 hours.
Shapps: 'Cut-off' needed for quarantine measures to be enforced
The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said there "has to be a cut-off" in regards to a time period for those being mandated to self-isolate on their return to the UK from abroad.
Mr Shapps was asked why it is the case that those who return to the UK from France before 4am on Saturday will not have to quarantine for 14 days whilst those returning after that time would have to do so.
He told BBC Breakfast: "I think the truth of this is, as everyone watching realises, there's no perfect way to deal with coronavirus.
"Unless you were going to have a sliding scale that sort of said if you stay another 24 hours the you must quarantine for X amount of time, another 36 hours for Y amount of time, you know, clearly there has to be a cut-off somewhere [...] To be clear, the Joint Biosecurity Centre have cleared our approach to this."
Burden of quarantine decision 'disproportionately falls on holidaymakers,' says Which?
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, comments on the latest quarantine news:
It’s understandable that the government wants to restrict travel to these countries at this time, but the burden of this decision [disproportionately] falls on holidaymakers – thousands of whom are likely to be left significantly out of pocket because their airline will refuse to refund them.
Unlike tour operators, airlines now routinely ignore FCO travel warnings and refuse refunds because, they argue, the flight is still operating. Some major airlines, like Ryanair, won’t even allow customers to rebook without charging a hefty fee.
The government wants us to act responsibly and not travel to countries with an FCO warning, but it needs to make it clear to airlines that they too need to act responsibly and not ignore government travel advice in an effort to pocket customer cash.
France will reciprocate UK's quarantine, says minister
The UK's move to impose a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from France will lead to a reciprocal measure, French junior minister for European affairs Clément Beaune tweeted late on Thursday.
“A British decision that we regret and which will lead to a measure of reciprocity, hoping that things will return to normal as soon as possible,” he tweeted.
UK quarantine system 'creates confusion and anxiety,' says travel boss
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy the PC Agency and former spokesperson for Quash Quarantine campaign group (currently on pause), offers his reaction to the addition of six more countries to the travel "red list".
He told Telegraph Travel:
The 14-day system of quarantine has to be changed - it creates confusion and anxiety among consumers; it’s hurting the travel sector with lower demand; and it says Britain is closed to the world, just ahead of Brexit.
Why aren’t we investing more in testing and testing again? If we’re to learn to live with coronavirus then the government has to invest in alternatives to blunt quarantine measures which damage economic recovery.
What happened yesterday?
The news came last night that six countries would be struck from the UK's quarantine-free list, including France, the Netherlands and Malta.
Other key headlines from yesterday:
- Wizz Air offers more services as Britons continue flying to Spain
- The world's biggest tour operator announces $1.3 billion loss
- Algarve fights back against UK travel restrictions with 'Covid-safe' television ad campaign
- Jersey announces it will quarantine French tourists for at least five days
- Thailand's elephant sanctuaries face crisis without tourists