UK rolls back on French exemption to quarantine after joint Macron and Johnson statement

UK rolls back on French exemption to quarantine after joint Macron and Johnson statement
Photo: AFP
In another confusing twist on the UK's quarantine plans, the British government on Friday said that people travelling from France would not be exempted - just a week after a statement from both country's leaders said they would be.

In an apparent step back from a previous position, an unnamed spokesman for the British Prime Minister on Friday told UK media:

“If you look at what was actually said in the joint statement on Sunday night, it said no quarantine measures apply to France at this stage and the key words in that sentence are 'at this stage.' So there is no exemption agreed with France.

“What we have said is that we will be working together with the French on this issue in the coming weeks.”

The spokesman said a working group would be set up between the two countries to ensure “consultation”.

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Boris Johnson said on Sunday that Britain was considering imposing a two-week quarantine on international arrivals into the UK, as part of its measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, something it has resisted so far.

On the same day, Johnson, in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, stated that “no quarantine measures would apply to travellers coming from France at this stage; any measures from one side or the other will be taken in a coordinated and reciprocal way.”

The Elysée Palace has so far not commented on the latest reports from the UK.

France has laid out its own plans to impose a quarantine on people arriving into the country.

On Thursday the French government announced that it would bring in a quarantine for passengers arriving from Spain in a “reciprocal measure” after Spain imposed its own quarantine

But quarantine measures do not so far apply to other countries in Europe, including the U.K.

The British government initially said their quarantine would apply to people arriving only by air, but later said it would also apply to those arriving by ferry or the Channel Tunnel, but British media is reporting that some groups including lorry drivers and essential health workers would be exempt.

The UK has not given a date for the start of its quarantine, but at this stage travel from the UK into France remains highly restricted with only essential travel allowed and everyone needing an international travel certificate.

The French government says that its border restrictions will last until at least June 15th for European travel and “until further notice” for travel from outside Europe.

READ ALSO When will I be able to travel to France again



Member comments

  1. How will this quarantine for arrivals work out for lorry drivers I wonder…..and pilots, ferry staff and air hostesses? If they all have to quarantine, then there will be precious few goods arriving in the UK …

  2. UK communications up to its usual standard – ‘as clear as mud’. I wonder which French expression Macron used after his chat with Johnson.

  3. I’ll be disappointed if the French government don’t act in a reciprocal way, particularly with a country with such a cavalier and disjointed approach to COVID as England.

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