Reader question: If I arrive in the UK from France before Sunday 4am, do I still have to quarantine?

The UK government announced on Wednesday evening that fully vaccinated travellers arriving from France from Sunday, August 8th would no longer have to quarantine. But if you are already quarantining in the UK, can you stop on Sunday?

Reader question: If I arrive in the UK from France before Sunday 4am, do I still have to quarantine?
Eurostar passengers arrive at St Pancras International station. Photo: Tolga Akmen / AFP.

The change — which will come into effect at 4:00 am (0300 GMT) on Sunday — puts France back on England’s so-called “amber” list of countries under its traffic light system for arriving travellers.

The government’s new guidelines state that “If you arrive in England from 4am Sunday 8 August, and you are fully vaccinated in the UK, USA or Europe”, you will not need to quarantine or take a Covid test 8 days after arrival.

People travelling from France previously had to quarantine for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status.

READ ALSO UK government to drop quarantine for fully vaccinated arrivals from France

Many people who arrived or are due to arrive in England before Sunday have been questioning whether they will be able to come out of quarantine early, when the new measures come into effect at 4am on Sunday, even if it has not been 10 days.

One reader emailed The Local to say when filling out his compulsory “Passenger Locator Form” for travel to the UK before Sunday, France had already been re-classed as amber meaning he had no need to self-isolate. Or at least that’s how he interpreted it.

The Local contacted the UK Department for Transport, which confirmed that people arriving before Sunday 4am will still have to complete the quarantine period. In other words, they don’t benefit from the relaxation of the rules.

“We had to set a date, so if you arrive at any time before Sunday you have to quarantine for the full ten days,” a spokesperson said.

Many of those who will therefore be stuck in quarantine while new arrivals do not have to stay home at all will find the situation grossly unfair.

“That seems ridiculous,” one Twitter user wrote, highlighting the fact that travellers must take a Covid test on day 2 after arriving in the UK, and so many of those in quarantine will already have proof of negative status.

“Seems extremely unfair,” journalist Kim Willsher tweeted.

You can find full details about travel restrictions between the UK and France HERE.

Member comments

  1. I am currently in quarantine after visiting France , so do not benefit from the rule change even though we are double vaccinated , tested negative before leaving France and again on day 2 here . Test and trace phone us every day, twice yesterday .

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‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

READ ALSO: Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.