Still lots of confusion over when the quarantine for travellers from France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba comes into force, after the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said on Sky News last night it applied from Sunday – despite the official announcement stating 4am on Saturday.
However, a number of newspapers have previously reported the new rules as kicking in on Sunday, suggesting even official briefings have been getting it wrong.
And it’s goodbye from me and hello to Jessica Murray, who is taking over now.
Another dissatisfied holidaymaker in France:
My brother in law and family are currently staying with us at our house in France. They were due to leave Monday evening but last night saw Honest Grant’s announcement on Sky News.
They promptly went online and managed to buy a new Eurotunnel ticket for tomorrow afternoon, paying £230. They were of course shocked to wake up and find out the quarantine starts from 4am tomorrow morning.
They are of course extremely upset and angry and now have to quarantine with 6 year old twins. Why hasn’t he acknowledged his mistake and the impact it has had ?
Kind regards, Amanda Hill
Just had an interesting but also deeply worrying email from a reader revealing what it’s like to be in quarantine in the UK:
My name is Tim and I recently returned from Belgium. There seems to be a widespread belief that the UK government has some type of control over those returning from the countries on the list. This is untrue.
I do not intend to boast about the fact that I have not complied to ‘the rules’ but that is the truth.
The form that you fill out asks for your permission to phone or text you – your permission! If they do phone you they ask you a few questions, “Are you at home?”, I was not but answered “Yes, I am”. That is it.
If this is compared to other nations, for instance, Singapore, where you are locked inside your room, or former CIS nations where you have to download an app and share your location, the UK is a joke.
My neighbour who returned from a nation ‘on the list’ arrived to Stansted Airport where they did not ask him to show the form. He returned to work and told his boss that he had been in Scotland (despite his tan).
Aaaand – someone else who took ‘Honest’ Grant at his (original) word that the quarantine would come in on Sunday:
Oh no! Another victim of Grant Shapps’ inability to understand that 4am Saturday doesn’t actually mean Sunday:
Hi Amelia, YES! We were naive enough to actually believe ‘Honest’ Grant. Our ferry leaves France at 08.30 on Saturday. So, main dilemma right now is whether to choose Cummings’ “I used my best judgement” line, or the Shapps-ian ‘my word is my bond’ pledge. Yours, Trevor of Brexitland
I’m still keen to hear from anyone else caught out by ‘Honest’ Grant, who clearly needs to go back to Y1 to learn the difference between am and pm.
I’ve had a helpful email from Michael Cosgrove in Lyon, France:
Here’s some info for people driving back up from the South of France today. The official French traffic monitoring authority (Bison Futé) has announced that due to heavy traffic drivers are advised to avoid the main motorway (the A7) between 9am and 9pm, particularly between Marseille and Salon-de-Provence. Traffic will also be dense from 10am to 8pm between Orange and Lyon.
In other words and in simple terms, British tourists going home by car from the South of France should leave early and give themselves plenty of time to reach the north of the country.
So there you have it: if you’re fleeing France today – flee fast and flee early.
Further to the Saturday/Sunday mystery of French quarantine. It seems that Shapps himself doesn’t understand what 4am on Saturday actually means:
Another James has just been in touch, regarding my earlier post that British tourists in France are being charged hundreds of pounds to return home before quarantine restrictions are imposed.
Hey Amelia – just regarding your post on the live blog about airfares from France. EasyJet are flying from CDG to Gatwick for £39 tonight, and even BA are flying CDG to LHR for £66 today too.
I’m very happy to be corrected – and to help direct those looking for a way home today, to find one without paying through the nose.
Oh now this is interesting. Grant Shapps told holidaymakers yesterday that the new quarantine rules would come in on SUNDAY not Saturday, as has now been confirmed.
I’ve had a tweet from James, currently in France. He says this – and has helpfully provided the video in which Shapps said Sunday was the key date..
I just wanted to drop you a quick message because I saw your coverage of the travel chaos in France and thought you may be interested in our story.
We’re on holiday in France now saw the news about an impending quarantine. As a result, we spent all yesterday waiting for an announcement so that we could back before.
When it came via a Grant Shapps interview on Sky News, he said it would be from Sunday. We promptly booked our channel tunnel for Saturday afternoon, but now we’ve woken up today to see it’s been changed to Saturday.
So not only are we down hundreds of pounds, we’re also going to have to quarantine when we get back. We’re so angry and upset as we won’t be able to see family as planned. We don’t know what to do as all the tickets for today are now booked.
I hope to god they revert, as my mum has cancer and we were planning on seeing her on the way back.
Any other holidaymakers out there who have been hoist by the same Shapps-petard, please drop me a line: @byameliahill or firstname.lastname@example.org