'Unworkable': Fury as double-jabbed arrivals from France made to self-isolate from Monday

17 July 2021, 09:54 | Updated: 17 July 2021, 13:28

Brits arriving in England from France will still need to self-isolate from Monday
Brits arriving in England from France will still need to self-isolate from Monday. Picture: Alamy
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Holidaymakers are furious at the government's decision to continue forcing those arriving in England from France to self-isolate from Monday, even if they have had both Covid jabs.

Quarantine rules for those returning across the Channel will remain in place at the start of next week, despite restrictions on other amber list destinations lifting.

Ministers said the move, announced late on Friday evening, was a precautionary measure amid concerns over the "persistent presence" of the Beta coronavirus variant, also known as the South African strain, in the country.

Brits currently on holiday in France have vented their "frustration" at the decision, while one leading industry figure accused the government of "making it up as they go along".

Meanwhile, the French government will from Sunday start making unvaccinated arrivals from Britain and several other European nations provide a negative Covid test less than 24 hours old before entering the country.

Read more: Arrivals from France must isolate after Monday even if double-jabbed

Explained: Which countries are on green list and why was Ibiza moved to amber?

Some holidaymakers in France have expressed their frustration at the move
Some holidaymakers in France have expressed their frustration at the move. Picture: Alamy

From Monday, any resident who has received their two Covid jabs can arrive in England from countries on the amber list without needing to self-isolate for 10 days, unless they are returning from France.

Georgina Thomas, a fully-vaccinated nurse who has been visiting her parents in the French countryside, questioned the reasoning behind the move.

"I'm frustrated with the inconsistent approach the Government are taking, it doesn't all appear logical," she said.

"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."

Read more: Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca to be removed from green list

Read more: Double-jabbed Brits to be allowed amber travel without self-isolating

Graham McLeod, a Bolton resident who is staying in his holiday home on France's Atlantic coast and has also received both jabs, expressed his dismay at the decision.

"In terms of government messaging, we'd say it's inconsistent, irregular, unclear and frankly unworkable," the 63-year-old said.

"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."

He and his partner had planned to holiday for five weeks but are not planning to return after less than three as they fear the situation could deteriorate further, especially "given the knee-jerk reaction by the UK Government".

Essex-resident Debbie, who did not wish to share her second name, runs a French chalet which is set to take a financial hit as a result of the new isolation rules.

She said the measure seems like "political game-playing", adding that it is "like watching a tennis match and the people are the ball".

Industry body Abta said the last-minute exclusion of France was a further setback for hopes of a "meaningful recovery" for the sector.

"While we understand that public health must come first, this announcement will undoubtedly dent consumer confidence in overseas travel just as we are about to see many amber-listed countries opening up for UK visitors in time for the summer holidays," a spokesman said.

Industry figures worry the move will be another setback for the holiday sector
Industry figures worry the move will be another setback for the holiday sector. Picture: Alamy

Easyjet chief Johan Lundgren said it "pulls the rug" from under people who were already in France or had booked holidays there.

"The traffic light system is falling apart with the government making it up as they go along and causing confusion and uncertainty. It is not backed up by the science or transparent data," he said.

For Labour, shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: "Ministers are making up rules on the hoof and causing chaos.

"They have never had a proper strategy in place - once again the travel industry and the British people are paying the price."