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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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  • Trev says:

    For info what hotel is that pictures in the article?

    • Gareth says:

      Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, near ish to Bordeaux. Part of Hyatt group but currently having a refurbished until spring 2021

    • Anna says:

      It features in one of my favourite films, Hors de Prix, starring Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh (who is a great comedian as well as having married one of the Monaco royals!)

  • ChrisW says:

    I have 10 different friends who have either completed or are currently finishing up their 14 days quarantine in the UK after returning from Europe.

    Only 1 of them was called to check they were doing it properly.

    • John says:

      Sounds about right, I heard they follow up on 20% of forms

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      To be fair, all laws other than the most serious offences ultimately rely mainly on voluntary compliance and a hope that people will follow reasonably closely. What % of instances of driving at 71mph or above are caught and penalised. 0.001%?

  • Patrick c says:

    it is kind of funny that the UK has the balls to put a quarantaine in place anywhere, while the UK really is the most risky country to get infected: dysfunctional government, testing, tracing system and lowest mask usage…

    • Stoneman says:

      This is not a public health driven response but one driven by populist political calculation. Much like face coverings for example.

      • Lady London says:

        Well said both of you. It’s a farce. You could make a Fellini film about it that would make everyone laugh. Or can you imagine the endless material this would give Spitting Image every week.

        Thank heavens it’s not something much worse we’re trying to stop the spread of.

        • Dominic says:

          Thank goodness that Spitting Image is on its way back in in the autumn!

          • Lady London says:

            Is it? Oh, I wish Wordpress would have let me put that in size 18 font !!! where can i find out more?

    • pauldb says:

      Never mind that the numbers say otherwise?

      • Stoneman says:

        What numbers? What regions are you referring to? National numbers are a nonsense. It is about regions, indeed, even parts of towns which are seeing high infection rates.

        • pauldb says:

          It’s not about regions if I’m disputing the statement that the UK is riskier than other countries, when the other countries in question have higher rates of infection.

    • Andrew says:

      It’s your personal behaviours that drive the risk.

      You make the lifestyle choice whether you want to get pozzed up or not.

      Only you can decide whether or not to wear a mask, touch your face, pick your nose, bite your nails, eat food without washing your hands, or lick escalator belts.

      Of course the most ignorant of all, and probably the most likely to be infected, are those who hand wring and then talk about “UK” and then “government” (singular) as if devolution had never happened.

    • Josh says:

      Did someone spoil your holiday, Paddy?

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      UK test some of the highest in the world for tests per 1 million of population

  • Chelseafi says:

    I’m hoping Greece stays off the list

  • James Vickers says:

    I returned from Gibraltar on 6th August so had no need to quarantine but on return was able to use the epassport lanes with no one asking if I’d been in Spain for example and needed to quarantine. I was intrigued how are the epassport gates still able to be used? Are they linked to you having a complete passenger locator form or are they just being trusting?

    • memesweeper says:

      I was pulled out of an egate last week and asked questions , along with my daughter. Just a random selection being targeted most likely.

    • Gavin says:

      When I entered at T5 a couple of weeks ago, all the e-gates were closed and the border officials at the desks were checking everyone’s form. Entered again one week ago and the gates were open, no checks.

    • Alex says:

      If you filled your passenger locator form then they’ll know where you were, that’s what they’re basing their checks on.

    • Alastair says:

      Would hope that they are linked because you have to add your passport number to the form…
      …but, my UK passport never works at the UK e gates (because they made the picture wrong according to the border force) and when I gave it to the guy and had to show him the form he went through the whole form, so I don’t know if they actually do have any way of bringing it up on their system :/

    • Simon says:

      I think they are trusting people for e-gates plus doing random checks interesting the comment below from Alastair they went through the whole form.

      First time through Heathrow no e-gates and first page of form looked at on phone without going through any of it, 2nd and 3rd times I filled in the form but used the e-gates, returning to Bristol no e-gates and first page of form looked at on phone. I asked the person sat next to me if he’d filled in the form returning to Heathrow from Munich and he said no and I saw him at baggage collection before me so I assume he used the e-gates and didn’t get a random check.

  • Anon says:

    Might be worth putting in the criteria for how countries are added to the list – they look at the ECDC cases per 100,000 ( and if you’re consistently above 20 for 14 days you are at risk of being added to the list (confirmed by Grant Shapps).

    In practice if you’re at 21-25 like Croatia or Poland you’re unlikely to be added, but France was above 30, Netherlands above 40, Malta above 70 (although such a small population gross cases are low and smart contact tracing should help them deal with it).

    • ken says:

      Indeed, plus the numbers seem to be getting worse in France.

      • Lady London says:

        not surprised. the problem is idiots thinking masks are protective and not social distancing. Social distancing is the most important thing as it transmits by air and enters the body by attaching to mucous membranes.

        You could probably eat a fair amount of it without getting the disease as your stomach acids/enzymes can probably deal with a fair amount of it.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Not sure about the science around eating it

          But completely agree about masks, people see it as an alternative to social distancing rather than as well as.

  • Matthew Goode says:

    I just had a thought. I’m reading BBC News and seeing that the cheapest Eurostar tickets have been around £210. Would redeeming Club Eurostar points be a way of getting around this?

    • Rob says:


    • Lady London says:

      Yes. This kind of situation where prices are sky high as last minute, is what points are for.

      This is why when a scheme changes to become “revenue based” i.e. the points earned, or the number of points you will need to pay for a reward ticket, become based on cash prices, that takes away the attractiveness of collecting in that scheme.

  • Simeon says:

    Does anyone know about connecting flights in Amsterdam – will you have to quarantine if you are only passing through Schiphol?

    • Rob says:

      Yes you do, because you will come into contact with locals who work in the airport.

      Same with driving. Stop for petrol in France and you must quarantine. Drive straight through and you’re fine.

      • GeorgeJ says:

        One of the consequences of last nights FCO restriction is that there just doesnt seem to be a viable way of taking your car to the Continent. All of the countries with ferry ports from the UK are on the non essential travel list (Spain, France, Belgium and Holland). In theory you can come back without quarantining if you follow the FCO transit rules (dont mix or even get out of the vehicle) but it doesn’t seem to work in reverse and will probably void travel insurance.

        • John says:

          Well if you drive straight into Germany from the ferry you wouldn’t have come into contact with anybody from France Belgium or the Netherlands

          • GeorgeJ says:

            OK John, but you have visited a country (France, Spain or Belgium) where the FCO have advised against travel so you probably have no insurance.
            The transit exception applies to the need to quarantine on return, it doesn’t get any mention with regard to leaving.

          • GeorgeJ says:

            Sorry Spain unlikely, the other is Holland.

        • Heathrow Flyer says:

          If you’re literally just driving through a European country why would you need travel insurance?

          If you’re unlucky enough to have a serious road collision emergency services will take care of you like a local and your EHIC will pick up the tab.

          Also, many policies are covering medical, in-spite of any FCO advisories.

    • ChrisC says:

      Some of this is getting ridiculous.

      Last week when they announced the restriction on Belgium it meant that even spending an hour at Brusells Midi changing from the Thalys from Amsterdam to the Eurostar would mean going into quarentine on return home!

      • John says:

        How is this ridiculous? (Or at least any more ridiculous than the rest of it)

      • J says:

        Seriously why bother? Cummings or Boris’ own father can treat the rules as optional, why shouldn’t anyone else? Take sensible steps to protect your own health, and be particularly cautious if you’re in close contact with at risk groups – otherwise use your own judgement and ignore all this political theatre saying Turkey is safe but Luxembourg isn’t, Germany is safe but France isn’t, etc.

        • mutley says:

          Quite agree. The whole thing, like most of this governments policies seem to be made up without any coherent thought process.

          Add Robert Jenrick to that list.

        • Stoneman says:

          Yup. Anyone following the letter of the government’s advice is daft. When Professor Ferguson decided to bring his mistress around during the height of the pandemic/lockdown it was evident that the rulers follow one set of the rules and the oinks are expected to follow another.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Be careful if you plan to break quarantine to go to work, I can’t think of any other reason anyone would actually need to leave home. I can see instant dismals taking place.

          • Bagoly says:

            Delightful irony there from your spellchecker adding an ‘n’.
            Per Animal Farm, the oinks are Cummings et al!

      • Nick_C says:

        An hour is long enough for you to get infected and infect others back in the UK.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          So is an hour in any other none quarantine countries.

          Anyway they need a better plan around testing To reduce the 14 days for everyone.

          This policy is purely to stop mud slinging and I think it’s failing miserably.

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