France travellers slam U-turn over France isolation rules

The Eurostar, an airport and a vaccination.

Double-jabbed Brits in France have had their plans torn up by the shock announcement they’ll have to self-isolate for 10 days on their return(Picture: Getty and EPA)

Double-jabbed Brits in France are reeling from the announcement they will have to self-isolate when they return home.

The government announced new rules on people arriving from France yesterday due to the ‘persistent presence’ of the Beta variant across the Channel.

The country now effectively has its own travel status: an amber country but without any of the advantages for people who’ve received two vaccine doses.

A Sage scientist has backed the decision, warning the mutation first spotted in South Africa has ‘remained a threat throughout’ the pandemic and is ‘able to escape the immune response to a better extent’.

But the move has been slammed by people whose summer plans have been thrown into disarray by the sudden change.

Graham McLeod, from Bolton, is cutting his summer stay at his holiday home short to get back and fulfil the quarantine requirements.

The 63-year-old said: ‘In terms of government messaging, we’d say it’s inconsistent, irregular, unclear and frankly unworkable.

Passengers arrive at the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord train station.

Vaccinated tourists hoping to make the short hop across the Channel for a quarantine-free holiday have been left bitterly disappointed (Picture: Reuters)

‘We struggle to understand the sudden desire to introduce quarantine for returnees from France and cannot help feel this has far more to do with politics and much less to do with science.’

His frustration was shared by Georgina Thomas, a fully-vaccinated nurse from Buckinghamshire, who has been visiting her parents in the countryside between La Rochelle and Bordeaux for the last three weeks with one-year-old daughter Grace.

The 32-year-old said: ‘I’m frustrated with the inconsistent approach the Government are taking, it doesn’t all appear logical.

‘If a quarantine is necessary then so be it but I’m confident that my risk will be higher when I return to the UK.

‘I hope people don’t see this as a disincentive to be vaccinated, it’s still so important.’

France is now effectively in its own travel category: not quite on the red list but with stricter rules than amber countries (Picture: AFP)

Debbie from Essex – who did not wish to give her surname – runs a chalet with her family and said ‘bookings were just starting to pick up’.

But she said the change to vaccinated travellers could unsettle things and called it ‘political game-playing’.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said travel policy is ‘descending into further chaos’ and accused ministers of ‘making up rules on the hoof’.

Travellers to France aren’t the only ones to see their plans change at short notice.

The Balearic islands were moved from the green to the amber list earlier this week after just a fortnight, sending tourists scrambling for flights home.

Tourists queuing for a test in Ibiza.

Tourists in the Balearics are lining up for tests so they can get early flights home and avoid self-isolation from next week (Picture: Solarpix.com)

British holidaymakers have been queuing for tests so they can book flights and avoid 10 days self-isolation from Monday onwards.

Professor John Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said ministers were right to take action against the Beta variant in France.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘It is probably less infectious than the Delta variant that is spreading here in the UK at the moment. 

‘Where it has an advantage is that it is able to escape the immune response to a better extent.

‘As the population here becomes more and more immune, the conditions are right then for the Beta variant to get an advantage, so I can understand the concern.

‘Of the variants that are out there and are known about, that one has always been a threat to us. 

‘There is some good evidence from South Africa that it can evade the immune response generated by the AstraZeneca vaccine more efficiently.’

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