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TRAVELLING TO FRANCE

What you need to know about UK quarantine if you are travelling from Europe

From June 8th, the UK has introduced a compulsory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals to its shores - here's what you need to know about the rules if you are travelling from Europe.

What you need to know about UK quarantine if you are travelling from Europe
Photo: AFP

Unlike most European countries, the UK has had no border restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, but from Monday, June 8th, it has introduced a quarantine for all international arrivals.

There are still no restrictions on who can enter the country and no requirement to prove that your trip is essential, but if you are going to the UK – the country with the highest Covid-19 death toll in Europe – from a European country from June 8th you may be subject to quarantine.

Here's what the rules say:

Online form

If you are travelling into the UK you will need to fill out an online form before your arrival, giving your travel details, contact details and the address where you intend to self isolate. Failure to have a filled-out form on arrival in an airport, port or Channel Tunnel terminal could net you a £100 (€112) fine.

The rules apply to everyone entering the UK, both British citizens and foreigners.

Self-isolation

The quarantine obliges people to self-isolate at the address provided for 14 days. You are allowed to take public transport to get to your final destination, although people are asked to use private transport where possible. Masks are not currently compulsory on public transport in the UK, although they will be from June 15th.

While self-isolating you are allowed to leave the address to shop for food. You are not allowed to receive visitors, but if you are self-isolating with friends or family members, they do not need to self-isolate.

Exemptions

There are quite a few groups of people exempt from the restrictions and they include

  • Lorry drivers and other delivery staff
  • Medical professionals engaged in the battle against Covid-19
  • Foreign officials travelling for work, such as the French police officers who work in British ports
  • Anyone travelling from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
  • Seasonal agricultural workers

British Home Secretary Priti Patel. Photo: AFP

Fines

You can be fined £100 (€112) for not filling in the form or up to £1,000 (€1,120) for breaching self-isolation conditions, while foreign nationals who breach conditions could be deported.

However there is a fair amount of confusion on how this will actually be enforced. The British home secretary Priti Patel, when announcing the measures, said that local health officials would be in charge of enforcing it and could make spot checks, but there has been little detail revealed on how this would work in practice.

The fines will only be enforced in England, as leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have yet to say whether and how they will enforce the rules in their jurisdictions.

How long will it go on for?

When announcing the quarantine, Patel said that it would be reviewed every three weeks, which takes us up to June 29th. The policy has been pretty unpopular domestically and is also subject to a legal challenge from airlines Easyjet, Ryanair and BA owner IAG.

Does it affect travel out of the UK?

France has announced that it will take “reciprocal measures” against any country imposing a quarantine, which means that from June 8th, all arrivals in the France from the UK will also be subject to a 14-day quarantine. However in France the measures are voluntary and will not be subject to checks or enforcement.

If you are travelling from the UK to Europe, be sure to check the border restrictions on the country you are travelling to – many European countries are still limiting travel to essential journeys only until at least June 15th.

 

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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