Great Britain

Brits’ fury at last-min quarantine France decision that’s ruined 500,000 holidays

BRIT holidaymakers have reacted with dismay after France was added to the quarantine list last night.

It gives half a million Brits just over a day to get back home if they want to avoid 14 days isolation.

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Another 500,000 set to go to France this summer have also had their plans thrown into disarray.

The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba have also been added to the quarantine list from 4am on Saturday.

Stunned Brits reacted with shock to the government announcement.

Rachel Casey tweeted: "I was supposed to be visiting my parents in France with my sister and her kids. But now I can't go. As an A&E nurse I need a break!"

Matthew Smith tweeted: "I'm in France. I expected a quarantine to be announced. But over here, more people wear masks, more people watch their distance. It's simply safer than England."

One person tweeted: "My mother is slowly dying of cancer. She lives in Paris. My brother and I alternate travelling from London each week to see her - we both have families. This screws our visits."

Earlier today, TV broadcaster Piers Morgan tweeted a photo with his sons Spencer and Bertie from Nice airport, saying: "Quarantine dodgers..."

Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said: "It's understandable that the Government wants to restrict travel to these countries at this time, but the burden of this decision disproportionally 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."

Channel Tunnel operator Getlink said extra services may be laid on but warned that many passengers may not be able to get back to the UK in time.

John Keefe, Getlink's director of public affairs, told BBC Newsnight the trains were "already pretty much fully booked" on Friday.

He said: "The important thing is that people understand that it's not going to be easy to get back and they have to be sensible about this and not get themselves into difficulties."

However some Brits spoke of their "huge relief" at fleeing France in the nick of time.

Hundreds of passengers were on the ferry from Calais to Dover in Kent last night.

Robert Chmieilswki, 33, was returning home to the UK - where he has lived for seven years - after being on holiday visiting pals in France.

Robert, from Basingstoke, said: "It's a huge relief. It’s fantastic.

"I came home early as I knew quarantine was coming. I have my ferry with P&O and that's great. I'm relived.

"Some of the announcements have been chaos so I thought if it's coming I should head home. It's great news.

"I’m very happy. I thought I was jinxed because I accidentally booked this as Dover to Calais. I have no idea how that happened but I’ve had a bit of luck now."

Ruth Thompson, 35, of Bristol, said she was glad to be leaving the country.

The office worker told The Sun: "I booked this ferry this morning. The cases had been creeping up for a few days and I had to get out. It became too much of a risk. I've been on a break out there.

"I think it's good that there's 24 hours notice for others, it's not always been like that.

"It does feel a bit like a great escape out of here. I thought it was going to happen eventually but not this quickly."

Families with children now risk missing the first week of school as  14-day self-isolation measures are re-imposed.

The cut off point is 4am on Saturday and anyone arriving after that will have to isolate for two weeks.

Last night Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added to the chaos by getting the deadline day wrong - saying it was Sunday.

He said: "The French government have said that unfortunately the virus has been going the wrong way there.

"There has been a 66 per cent in the number of positive tests in the last week alone, so unfortunately France is having to be added to the quarantine list and it means that if you are coming back from France then you must self isolate for 14 days from Sunday."

The Foreign Office travel advice for France will also change when the quarantine measures come in.

It will advise against all "non- essential" travel to our neighbour - but will mean that those due to head there on holiday will be able to claim their cash back.  

France was added to the UK's quarantine after a crunch meeting of ministers on Thursday.

The PM said yesterday while on a trip to Northern Ireland: "We have got to be absolutely ruthless about this, even with our closest and dearest friends and partners. I think everybody understands that.

"We can't be remotely complacent about our own situation.

"Everybody understands that in a pandemic you don't allow our population to be reinfected or the disease to come back in."

Ministers had hoped France's cases would flatten, so they would not have to take the difficult decision.

The PM now risks a row with French president Emmanuel Macron, who was on holiday yesterday in the South of France.

The French health ministry reported 2,669 new cases yesterday after 2,524 new on Wednesday - the country's highest levels since lockdown.

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