Great Britain

France quarantine ‘shambles’ slammed by trapped Brits as Eurotunnel boss warns trains are ‘fully booked’ & prices hiked

BRITS stuck in France have today slammed the quarantine "shambles" - as the Eurotunnel boss warned trains are "fully booked" and prices were hiked.

Holidaymakers attempting a mad dash out of France in a bid to avoid the two-week enforced quarantine have been hit with huge queues, with many turned away.

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Half a million Brits are now evacuating amid a spike in coronavirus cases across holiday spots - and they need to get back before 4am tomorrow to avoid quarantine.

Adding to the chaos, British Airways today hiked flight prices and Eurostar demand soared sparking chaos at airports and terminals.

P&O Ferries also reported a surge in interest with more than 8,000 searches for tickets this morning. 

But travellers have been warned not to rush to ports and terminals - amid fears they will be turned away.

As BA flight prices rocketed from £664 to £770, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle warned all shuttles are fully booked until tomorrow.

A foreboding statement added: "Please do not arrive at the terminal unless you have a ticket valid for travel today."

It comes after boss John Keefe told BBC Newsnight trains were "already pretty much fully booked" today, as panicked Brits tried to get home.

There are winding queues building to board ferries at Calais for Dover - with passengers struggling to get last minute tickets. 

What we know so far:

IT manager Lewis Kitson, 37, said: “This is just a complete shambles. It’s chaos. They’re making it up as they go along now.

“They can’t justify this. It’s guess work. I’m not bothered about quarantine if I’m too late. I’ve just come through France on a road trip. I’m trying to book to get home.

“They’ll have to put me in prison before I comply with quarantine.

“The whole thing is ridiculous. It’s still not enough time. I’m really trying to get a ferry booked. It’s a disgrace.”

And another returning Brit revealed she was forced to quit her job on a superyacht in the south of France over fears quarantine would make her miss her first few weeks at university.

The 21-year-old stewardess, who arrived into London’s St Pancras International at 9am today, said: "I don't think the quarantine is a good thing at all. I think it is so stupid. 

“There is nothing whatsoever stopping anyone visiting their friends and family when they have been travelling.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said anyone who turns up trying to get a last minute seat home before the quarantine comes into force will "almost certainly be disappointed."

Mr Shapps told Sky News: "Don't just turn up because you will almost certainly be disappointed and it will just create queues which no one wants to see."

Michael Smallwood, 60, of New Ash Green Kent, was booked on a ferry to leave for Dover on Monday but is scrambling to leave France today.

The self-employed carpet cleaner faces losing a lot of business if forced to quarantine and couldn't get in touch with the ferry company.

He said: “It’s a race against time. It’s not good. It’s worrying.”

Although required to by law, some Brits say they cannot afford to quarantine for two weeks.

Two pub workers arriving back in London from a 10-day trip to Belgium should be self-isolating for 14 days - but that they had been taken off furlough and needed to work.

Asking to remain anonymous, one said: "I need the money, I can't work from home, I need to work. It's so tricky.

"My boss won't allow me to legally, so I'll need to find some kind of odd work in the meantime to get by."

Brits caught short as they scramble home:

British tourists in France are being charged hundreds of pounds to return home before quarantine restrictions are imposed.

British Airways hiked fares up to nine times for passengers returning from the south of France.

The final seats on its afternoon and evening flights from Nice to London were costing €727 and €854 – compared to E102 for passengers flying next Monday, a kayak.co.uk search showed.

DFDS Seaways doubled fares for ferry passengers sailing from Calais to Dover yesterday, with two passengers and one car costing £196, compared to the £109 next week, a directferries.com search showed.

P&O ferries had availability last evening - but prices were at least £200 a car, rather than £90 on normal days. 

The lowest priced Eurostar tickets available this morning were £210.

Travellers willing to pay these inflated fares could still miss out due to many services already being fully booked

“We’ve been on the west coast in France and they’ve been nearly empty. We’ve felt safe here. We now feel quite stressed and worried.”

The Government’s decision gives half a million Brits currently in France less than a day to get back if they want to avoid going into quarantine.

But with flights fully booked and the Channel Tunnel packed, many will miss the deadline of 4am tomorrow.

Margaux Bya, 26, flew to see her family in Nice after weeks in lockdown in London, and is due to return tomorrow evening - just hours after quarantine measures kick in. 

She said: "I am very annoyed by this back and forth, France was on the quarantine list in June, then it wasn't and now they are putting it back on the list.

"It is also nerve-racking to think about everything I need to put into place before coming back home: ordering groceries online, cancelling what I planned for the next two weeks, let my employer know as I had a business trip planned."

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More than 5,000 people have searched to book a ferry to Dover today, the P&O website says, with many of the listed times as "limited service".

Ferry firm DFDS has also been booked solid, with eight time slots having sold out completely.

A spokesman told The Sun: “We are just expecting it to get busier and busier. 

“All of our ferries are running but unfortunately it’s not possible to have extra bookings on board because of the Covid situation. I’d urge people to check online before you leave.”

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

Jamie Harrison and wife Bernie, both 43, are still taking their three children on a 10-day camping holiday to Nice, France.

Dad Jamie said: "Of course I didn't really want it to happen but I could see it coming. We're still going to enjoy ourselves and have a great trip."

Another 500,000 Brits due to travel to France in the coming weeks will have their holiday plans thrown into chaos.

The Netherlands and Malta were also added to the quarantine list last night.

Boris Johnson said yesterday he had to be “absolutely ruthless” over imposing the travel rules, “even with our closest and dearest friends and partners”

The PM added: “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 re-infected or the disease to come back in.

"That is why the quarantine measures are very important and we have to apply them in a very strict way."

GET HOME NOW!

The Sun can reveal concerned medics intervened to warn the PM that France’s numbers were starting to spiral out of control.

France recorded 2,669 new Covid-19 cases yesterday — a record outside of lockdown - and the infection rate over 14 days rose to 32.1 per 100,000.

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

And Downing Street fears tit-for-tat quarantine measures will be imposed by France on any Brit tourists arriving there next week.

Restrictions have been imposed on 20 of the largest French cities.
Paris, Toulouse, Lille and Biarritz are among those ordering people to wear masks in outdoor areas.

QUARANTINE Q&A

Q: What does the quarantine involve?

A: ANYONE returning from France, Malta or the Netherlands will have to fill in an online passenger locator form upon arrival in the UK.
You will need to indicate how you travelled, your contact details and address where you will isolate for 14 days.

You can have necessities delivered but must stay away from others.

Q: What if I don’t quarantine?

A: YOU could be fined up to £1,000. If you move address after giving one for quarantine, and fail to update to the new one you can be fined up to £3,200.

Q: I’ve booked flights to a quarantine country. Can I get my money back if I don’t want to travel?

A: EASYJET and British Airways are allowing customers the chance to rebook, accept a credit note or get a refund.

Ryanair will not offer refunds but will allow you to change flight dates without a change fee. Many airlines plan to continue to fly so it is important to check.

Q: Will Eurotunnel and ferry crossings be cancelled? Will I get my money back?

A: FERRY firms and Eurotunnel are planning to continue services for now. If you choose not to travel contact them about your options.

Most are offering to postpone or rearrange crossings for later in the year if you have booked a flexible ticket.

Other tickets will be considered on a case-by-case basis but you may be allowed to rebook.

Monaco and Caribbean destinations Aruba and the Turks and Caicos  were also booted off the green list, meaning people returning from those places from tomorrow will also need to self-isolate for 14 days.

On Wednesday there were 1,009 new cases of coronavirus in Britain — less than half the total in France.

Prof Tim Spector, at King’s College London, said: “It’s encouraging to see   numbers coming down slightly, and that isolated outbreaks in the North appear to be well contained so far.

“This is further confirmation that we aren’t at the beginning of a second wave and, rather, still trying to end the first."

Mr Shapps, announcing the new travel rules last night, added to the chaos by getting the deadline day wrong — saying it was Sunday instead of tomorrow.

The Sun understands that Downing Street initially intended it to be Sunday, but the Scottish and Welsh governments pressed for tomorrow.

Employers cannot claim back statutory sick pay, and have no obligation to pay wages to those in quarantine, although many do.

Brits with no hope of getting back before the changes will be able to claim Universal Credit if they are not paid during their self-isolation. 

The Foreign Office will advise against all “non-essential” travel to France —  but it will mean those due to head there on holiday will be able to claim their cash back.

Holland and Malta at risk of being added to UK’s quarantine list after rise in coronavirus cases

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