France has warned it will take ‘reciprocal’ action as the UK imposes a 14-day quarantine - here’s what it means
Travellers arriving in the UK from France will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on their return, after the government removed the country from its list of approved travel corridors.
The new quarantine rule will take effect from 4am on Saturday 15 August and will apply to travellers returning to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
But what are the rules in France? Here’s what you need to know.
Is the France quarantine reciprocal?
France is expected to impose a reciprocal quarantine on arrivals into the country from the UK, in response to its removal from the UK’s quarantine exemption list.
Writing on Twitter, junior minister for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, said: “We regret this British decision, which will lead to a reciprocal measure [in France], while hoping for a return to normal as quickly as possible.”
Transport secretary Jean-Baptiste Djebbari added that he had spoken to Mr Shapps about the decision. He tweeted: “France regrets the British decision and will apply reciprocal measures in terms of transport.
“I told my counterpart Grant Shapps of our will to harmonise health protocols in order to ensure a high level of protection on both sides of the Channel.”
How will quarantine work?
France has not yet confirmed its own quarantine plans, but new rules are expected to be introduced imminently.
The country imposed a similar quarantine measure between 8 June and 9 July in response to the UK’s initial blanket policy of requiring travellers to self-isolate for at least two weeks.
However, French officials made it clear that this was a voluntary or advisory procedure which was never policed.
As such, it is likely that if a reciprocal quarantine is enforced it will again be voluntary, with individuals left to act responsibly to prevent the spread of the virus.
By contrast, quarantine in the UK is mandatory and breaching rules can result in a heavy fine.
Why has France been added to the quarantine list?
France has been added to the government’s quarantine list in response to the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country.
The latest 14-day cumulative figures for France show 32.1 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, raising concerns about further spread.
In the UK, the latest figures show that there are 18.5 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people by comparison.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that France was placed into the quarantine list to help keep infection rates down in the UK.
The move follows the government’s decision to remove Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, from the quarantine list last month after a spike in cases were recorded in the country.
Is France in lockdown?
France began gradually easing restrictions from 11 May, with different areas being categorised as either ‘red’, ‘orange’ or ‘green’, dictating the extent to which measures are safe to relax.
Currently all areas in mainland France are categorised as ‘green’, with the exception of Paris and the Bouches-du-Rhone area, which includes the city of Marseille, as these have been classed as ‘red’ due to the high coronavirus infection risk.
Certain confinement measures may also still apply in other parts of the country, depending on the area. To check the latest information, visit the government website.
The French government has put the capital and the area around Marseille on the Mediterranean coast under lockdown, with local authorities now able to restrict access to public transport, air travel and public transport, as well as to close some establishments where there is a high risk of infection.
Wearing masks in enclosed public spaces was made compulsory from 20 July for those aged 11 and over, while wearing masks on public transport has been mandatory since 11 May.
Parisian local authorities also made wearing masks in certain busy outdoor public spaces compulsory from 10 August, for those aged 11 and over. For more information on the areas this applies to, check the map on the local authority website.