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Coronavirus: Don’t book your holiday to France yet, as confusion over quarantine continues | UK News



People looking to book a holiday to France should wait until talks about a prospective quarantine across the Channel have concluded, a top minister has told Sky News. 

Boris Johnson announced international travellers flying into the UK would be required to quarantine themselves for two weeks when he addressed the nation last Sunday.

However, Downing Street later added: “No quarantine measures would apply to travellers coming from France at this stage.”

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Is it safe to book a trip to France?

The clarification from Number 10 led some people to book trips to France, safe in the knowledge that no quarantine would be imposed.

The government then said there was no exemption for France and that talks were ongoing to negotiate how the border crossing would work to ensure the spread of COVID-19 is contained.

Now, Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has said details of any quarantine between the UK and France are not yet confirmed.

The Times has reported that lorry drivers travelling between the two countries could be among those who would be exempt from a two-week self-isolation period.

Sky News put that to Mr Dowden, who appeared to confirm it.

He said: “The reason for allowing some exemptions is to keep the economy going. If we didn’t apply quarantine exemptions to lorry drivers, we wouldn’t be able to get all the freight we need from France from the rest of Europe to Britain.

“We’re taking some sensible, proportionate exemptions to it and of course all the other restrictions will continue to apply to lorry drivers, but it’s just to help the flow of traffic that seems a suitable measure to take.”

Eurotunnel freight tunnel
Mr Dowden said freight transport must be considered

He added that “discussions with the French are ongoing”, before denying that the government had sent out confused messaging on the issue.

Mr Dowden said: “We did say we’re having constructive discussions with the French about quarantine – and that is what’s going on.”

He added: “As far as I’m concerned, we’ve been consistent. We’re looking to introduce these quarantine measures, those measures haven’t been introduced yet, we’re still working out the final details of those. Those will be coming forward shortly.”

The initial guidance from Number 10 – that there would be no need to self-isolate if travelling into or from France – prompted optimism that as lockdown measures ease, people could look to holiday in France.

Mr Dowden played down this prospect, telling Sky News: “I think people should wait to see what the quarantine measures look like and what measures we take in relation to France.”

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He confirmed that at the moment there are no quarantine measures in place between the UK and France.

It comes as the boss of Ryanair has described the UK government plans to introduce 14-day quarantines for international flight passengers as “nonsense“.

Michael O’Leary told Sky News he believed ministers were “making stuff up as they go along” – saying such a precaution was unworkable and unenforceable as the no-frills carrier maintained its plans to resume 40% of its flight schedule from July.

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