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France, Netherlands, Malta and others added to the UK Government quarantine list

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The Government announced very late on Thursday evening that anyone returning to the UK from France will need to quarantine for 14 days.

The quarantine requirement will kick in from 4am on Saturday morning and will doubtless trigger a mass rush to leave France during Friday from those who need to return to work next week.  It would, arguably, have been more sensible to impose quarantine from 4am on Sunday morning, allowing those whose holidays end on Saturday to return on their scheduled flights, trains and ferries.

This is what I found when I went on the Eurotunnel website at 11pm on Thursday night:

Eurotunnel queue

As well as France, the quarantine rules will also apply to returnees from:

  • The Netherlands
  • Monaco
  • Malta
  • Turks and Caicos
  • Aruba

Hotel du Palais Biarritz

The following countries had already been added to the quarantine list over the previous two weeks:

  • Andorra
  • The Bahamas
  • Belgium
  • Luxembourg

It is not yet clear if these countries will be added to the Foreign Office ‘do not travel’ list (click here), which is usually the trigger for being to abandon your holiday plans and make a successful travel insurance claim.

The official ‘travel corridor’ list – which is shrinking by the week – is on this page of the Government website.  Two countries have been removed from the quarantine list in recent days – Brunei and Malaysia – so it is an active two-way street.

PS. As people are asking, the hotel in the picture above is the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz.  Once one of the most fashionable hotels in France, it had lost its lustre in recent years.  There were plans to convert it into a Four Seasons but this fell through and, after substantial upgrading, it will reopen next year as part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection.  The Hyatt web page for it is here.  I am keen to try it out.

Comments (201)

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  • Alex says:

    Pretty sure Malaysia isn’t accepting inbound visitors so removal from the list isn’t of huge relevance! Even if you do get in to Malaysia you face a two week quarantine there!

    • riku2 says:

      but you do realise that not everyone lives in the UK and there are people who live in Malaysia who might now visit the UK? Entry into Malaysia is irrelevant to them because they live there.

      • Callum says:

        And Kuala Lumpur is a transit hub of course – it was one of the routes I considered when planning my flight back to the UK.

      • Rob says:

        I think you’ll find the Govt has been nobbled by the private schools who are desperate to get their Malaysian pupils back.

    • John says:

      British citizens living in Malaysia can now come to the UK freely

  • Spaghetti Town says:

    Airline stocks will be a buy tomorrow!

  • M.Gove says:

    Barnard Castle still exempt from all rules though and my mate Dominic said it makes a good holiday. Shall see what the BA change fee is to change my Paris flights to go there

    • B.Johnson says:

      I hear that BA pilots let you take the pilot seat if you need to test your sight, especially at landing.

      • Lady London says:

        No you’re getting mixed up again with the need to travel 250 miles to Barnard Castle from London in order to see if you’re there when you get there.

    • Anna says:

      I’m going to Barnard Castle today! Specsavers has been closed so it’ll be useful.

  • Joe says:

    We in Switzerland expect to be next.

  • Oli says:

    There’s a long waiting queue of 5000+ people to access the Eurotunnel website!

    • Rob says:

      Thanks! Added a screenshot.

    • Lady London says:

      Brilliant, brilliant point about making it 4am Sunday rather than Saturday, Rob.

      Even 4am Monday would not have been totally unacceptable.

      I cannot believe how “holier-than-thou” this country is getting. Whilst bungling everything.

      • Paul says:

        English exceptionalism at its finest
        Worst death rate in Europe
        Worst economic collapse in Europe
        But blame the foreigners, the refugees, the migrants and pretend that England is some shangri-la.

        • Anna says:

          We haven’t got either of those, you need to do some reading up on the economies of Spain and Italy.

        • Nick_C says:

          No one is blaming foreigners. But Covid is being spread by people travelling.

          The data justified these countries being taken off the safe list a week ago. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

      • Tariq says:

        That’s coronaphobia for you!

  • Boon says:

    Why can’t the govt give a few days – say 4am Monday, to allow everyone returning this weekend to do so without having to stress and change their plans.

    Also give the travel companies some time to prepare for the disruption.

    • AJA says:

      There has to be a cut off time. If they made it Sunday instead of Saturday then those due to travel on Monday would be saying but why Sunday and not Monday and so on. It’s not as if it hasn’t been in the news, they’ve been saying for at least 2 days France might be added to the quarantine list.

    • Lady London says:

      People rushing will probably cause massive safety issues. Plus the overcrowding. It’s unbelievable. All to pose that we’re better than another country. This is embarrassing.

      Meanwhile I’m thanking my stars I did a quick trip exactly two weeks ago to get someting urgent done, that really was not going to be urgent for another 3 months or so, anticipating this kind of shutdown based on a momentary positive difference in UK rates of infection vs our peer countries.

      • Yawn says:

        The other point of course is that overcrowding on ferries and at passport control might actually contribute to the pandemic.

    • Nick_C says:

      “Why can’t the govt give a few days – say 4am Monday, to allow everyone returning this weekend to do so without having to stress and change their plans.”

      Because France is finding almost 2000 new cases every day, and people coming back from France could be bringing the virus back with them.

      The situation in France was bad a week ago, and has been getting worse. I would have made the quarantine immediate – 4am today. (Actually I would have imposed quarantine on France a week ago, and I posted here that the figures required it.)

      • Lady London says:

        Let’s be realistic again. If France is finding 2,000 new cases each day then that means each day 80 people will die. (Based on current rates of 4% of those found to be infected are dying.). So it is quite serious, actually.

        Countries that are testing more people are finding that the death rate is 1% or even less which is probably the true death rate. However the 4% people dying above is valid out of those currently found to be infected, as in countries doing less testing it’s more likely you are selected for testing because there is a reason to think you might be infected.

        • Renaud says:

          The curve of deaths usually follows the curve of new infections by 3-4 weeks, so you won’t see these 80 deaths before 2 weeks. Already the number of people in hospitals and people in intensive care in France have stopped decreasing for the last 2 weeks.

  • Andy S says:

    The way thing are at present, I do not plan to travel abroad until things calm down .

    I’ll wait until next year.

    • Heathrow Flyer says:

      You’re pinning your hopes on a vaccine then?

      Until then, nothing will change materially.

  • Chris says:

    Test more people and unsurprisingly you find more (overwhelmingly asymptomatic) people with the virus. But, in an effort to detect attention from needlessly locking people in their homes (Sweden and Japan being proof of the viable alternative) and crashing the economy, they decide to carry on wrecking lives and businesses with this.

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      Importing the virus from France is precisely what caused the first lockdown. I’m glad this is being stopped.

      • Heathrow Flyer says:

        Wasn’t it China? Or Italy? Not sure how you can trace it back to France?

        The more you test the more you find. Switzerland escaped the list this week – but take a look at their testing rates.

        • Spaghetti Town says:

          China had very little effect. Italy had some but France was second after spain i believe. Combination of them all kicked off the pandemic in the UK.

        • John says:

          It went from China to Italy, then to the ski places in Austria and France then came to the UK from those.

          • Stoneman says:

            Which was highly preditcable at the time. Alas the opportunity for a travel ban which had chance of preventing a major outbreak and the possibility of implementing an elimination strategy (which a lockdown is really supposed to achieve) was squandered. Still, at least a load of middle class folk got their skiing holidays in.

      • Lady London says:

        I thought it was all those planes landing every day full of people from highly infectious New York that kept it going.

        Yup the first superspreader was that guy that went skiing in Austria, wasn’t it? and they all fanned out to various countries when they went home.

        • Spaghetti Town says:

          Who cares which country it really came from. We just don’t want it here again.

    • Tariq says:

      Yes, false positives, AKA ‘asymptomatic’.

      • David P says:

        You do realise that false positives and asymptomatic people are completely different things?

        If you’re asymptomatic then you do have the virus, but no outward signs of illness. You can still pass it on to other people.

        If a test returns a false positive then you do not have the virus, but the test thinks you do.

        The swab test has about a 30% false positive rate, so if you do give a positive sample the odds are still in favour of you having the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

        • jek says:

          I completely agree with the distinction between asymptomatic and false positives.

          However, I am sure that the false positive rate of the swab test is not 30% (that wold mean we would have at least 60,000 positive cases every single day assuming 200,000 tests per day). The false positive rate is probably around 0.5%.

          Did you mean false negative rate? There have been reports on 30% false negative rate in may. However, the actual test (ignoring false negatives due to swabbing) has an extremely low false negative rate, below 0.1%.

          • Charlieface says:

            UK Gov study on false positives and negatives reported false positive rate between 1-2% (that is of the entire negative population), and false negative of 5-10% (of the entire positive population). Makes little difference if a large chunk of the people being tested are positive anyway, but currently only 1% are coming back positive, ergo most of those are false positives.

          • Lady London says:

            so @Charlieface these tests are pretty useless then?

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