“Ridiculous”, travelers dismayed by British quarantine measures for France | World news
PARIS (Reuters) – Travelers set to board a train from Paris to London on the day Britain’s quarantine rules were due to expire were upset on Monday by a last-minute decision to keep them, the calling it “ridiculous,” “cruel” and “inconsistent.”
Anyone arriving from France will have to quarantine themselves at home or other accommodation for five to 10 days, the government announced on Friday, even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The fact that England removed most restrictions on coronaviruses on Monday made even more bitter those about to check in on the Eurostar at Gare du Nord in Paris.
“It’s inconsistent and … frustrating,” said Vivien Saulais, a 30-year-old Frenchman on his way back to Britain, where he lives, after visiting his family.
“I am forced to do a 10 day quarantine while the UK government lifts all restrictions and opts for a policy of collective immunity.”
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Britain reports many more cases of COVID-19 than France due to the spread of the Delta variant, first identified in India, but has few cases of the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa. The government has said it is maintaining quarantine rules for travelers from France due to the presence of the beta variant there.
Britain has the seventh highest COVID-19 death toll in the world, 128,708, and is expected to have more new infections each day soon than it did at the height of a second wave of the virus earlier this year. As of Sunday, there were 48,161 new cases.
But, surpassing European peers, 87% of the UK adult population received one dose of vaccination and more than 68% received two doses. Deaths, at around 40 per day, are only a fraction of a peak of over 1,800 in January.
“It’s totally ridiculous because the beta variant in France is so weak,” said Francis Beart, a 70-year-old Briton who had traveled to France to see his partner but cut his visit short to allow time for the quarantine. “It’s a little cruel.”
French authorities have said the bulk of cases of the beta variant have come from the overseas territories of Reunion and Mayotte, rather than mainland France, where it is not widespread.
“We do not believe that the decisions of the United Kingdom are totally based on scientific grounds. We find them excessive,” young French minister for European affairs, Clément Beaune, told BFM TV.
(Reporting by Emilie Delwarde, additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, John Irish; writing by Ingrid Melander; editing by Janet Lawrence)
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