UK government to drop quarantine for fully vaccinated arrivals from France

UK government to drop quarantine for fully vaccinated arrivals from France
A picture taken on February 2, 2021 shows a ferry operated by Brittany Ferries arriving to the port of Cherbourg, northwestern France. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)
The UK government said late Wednesday it will ease English entry rules requiring arrivals from France to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated, following its latest review of travel curbs.

The change — which will come into effect at 4:00 am (0300 GMT) on Sunday — puts France back on England’s so-called “amber” list of countries under its traffic light system for arriving travellers.

Those arriving before Sunday 4:00 will still be subject to the current rules and have to quarantine for 10 days.

The government last month eased the rules to allow people from amber countries fully jabbed with a vaccine approved by regulators in the United States and European Union to enter without having to self-isolate.

However, arrivals from France were the exception.

Britain said it acted over fears about the prevalence of the Beta strain, even though it mainly affected France’s overseas territories, particularly La Reunion.

But furious officials in Paris called the move “discriminatory”.

France now rejoins dozens of other countries on the amber list — including many EU members and the US — which mandates virus tests before and after arrival for those jabbed in those territories.

Others must self-isolate at home for 10 days.

Despite speculation Spain would be subject to greater restrictions it will also stay on the amber list.

India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will be moved to amber after being on the red list, which requires a costly 10-day hotel quarantine on arrival.

Other changes to the rules — which are reviewed every three weeks — will see Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway added to the green list.

Travellers in that designation must only take Covid-19 tests before and after entering England, regardless of their vaccination status, and do not have to self-isolate.

Meanwhile Georgia, Mexico, and France’s Indian Ocean territories of La Reunion and Mayotte will be moved onto the red list.

“We are committed to opening up international travel safely,” Britain’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.

“While we must continue to be cautious, today’s changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public.”

The UK government in London determines health and travel policy for England. The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland governments set their own and have broadly adopted the same measures.

Britain has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with 130,000 deaths within 28 days of a positive test since the outbreak began.

But the government has gradually eased restrictions, as vaccination numbers increased, cutting numbers of hospital admissions with Covid.

Some 88.7 percent of all adults have now had a first dose, and 73.2 percent two doses, according to the latest government figures.


Member comments

  1. Family and I due to arrive back in uk at 4pm Saturday (via Geneva) so still needing to do quarantine???

    How infuriating, especially as the decision to originally put France on Amber Plus list was so arbitrary and has all but been admitted to have been a mistake/politically motivated!!!!

    Any advice that doesn’t involve delaying flights welcomed

  2. If I return to England on Saturday, how long do I have to quarantine for? Surely only until Sunday morning? …… otherwise what justification is there for an individual returning on Sunday avoiding quarantine completely?

    1. Sadly, no. Once arrival quarantine starts the only reasons to end it are:

      1. Completion of 10 full days isolation
      2. Receiving a negative result from an optional day 5 test
      3. Leaving the country
      4. Testing positive and starting a new isolation process for that

      Rules changed since you arrived is not a reason, ridiculous as that is.

      I’m assuming you are vaccinated to be in France now. To your original post that means reasons 2 and 3 above are theoretically options.

      On reason 3, stupid as it sounds you can leave at any time to a country that will take British people with your recent travel history (eg France!) at which point your original quarantine ends. Then you can come back in and at that point you are a new arrival required to comply with whatever the prevailing rules are (and so after 4am Sunday no quarantine from France or indeed any other amber or green country).

      Since all that is expensive and time consuming I know you say you dont want to delay flights but in your shoes I’d really look hard at ways to mitigate whatever your reason is for that.

  3. I am going to the UK (from France) on 11th August and must be able to show that I have purchased a PCR test for day two of my visit.

    Can I buy a kit in a pharmacie here in Paris or do I have to book an appointment to do a test in the UK ?

    Many thanks for any advice.

  4. Hello and thankyou for all your up-to -date information. Can you please confirm as a fully vaccinated visitor to the UK, travelling from France after Sunday, you still have to show a negative PCR or antigen test that is less than 72 hours old on the British side when arriving from France? And, you have to have one in the Uk after 2 days? And present one that is less than 72 hours old when you arrive back in France? Thankyou for confirming. In France I guess you can get tested in a lab or maybe a pharmacy. Not sure how to get tested easily and quickly once in the UK though? Thanks again!

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