By Brenda Steele:
I have to admit that I was frustrated by the UK Government’s vague plans for quarantine “soon”. I was even more confused when they announced that it wouldn’t apply to France. I couldn’t figure out why. From this article I learned that the UK Government had changed its mind about the French exemption.
The situation on travel between France and the UK is a confusing one after mixed government messages.
A week ago, the UK announced that it would “soon” begin quarantining people arriving into the country, however this announcement was shortly followed by a joint statement from French president Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stating this would not apply to people travelling between France and the UK.But less than a week later, a spokesman for the British government then said that there would be no exemption for travellers from France.The latest statement from the French side is still talking about no quarantine for UK arrivals and there is still a joint British and French working group looking at this issue but at present the British government seems pretty confused about what it plans to do.There is currently no start date for UK quarantine measures.So I went hunting for confirmation and found this.
Government backtracks on French quarantine exemption
Researchers exemptBut today, the prime minister’s spokesman insisted there was no French exemption, and that the original statement referred to the need for cooperation to manage the common border between the two countries.It now appears that those exempted from the policy could include freight drivers, in order to allow the flow of goods to continue, and people working on Covid-19 research, but not ordinary travellers.The government had already indicated that people arriving from the Republic of Ireland will not be made to go into quarantine, an arrangement that will be unaffected by today’s news.However, the measures will apply to UK holidaymakers returning from other destinations.
People travelling to the UK from France will no longer be exempt from the government’s 14-day quarantine period – unless their journey is for business. Boris Johnson announced on Sunday that anyone flying into the UK will have to spend 14 days in isolation before being able to move freely around the country. According to scientific advisors, this is one of the best ways for travel to resume without increasing the rate of coronavirus infection. These rules were not set to apply to France, but ministers have now reportedly scrapped their blanket exemption. They are instead drafting plans for a key number of people to be exempt, including business people, freight drivers, scientists and doctors. It comes after concerns that the previous exemption could be exploited, with travellers from other countries flying to the UK through France. The new proposal is expected to be unveiled next week by officials after the details have been finalised. A Whitehall source told the Daily Telegraph: ‘The French don’t want a blanket exemption, only freight and business travel.
Good I thought. At least the French have some sense. Alas, it doesn’t help when Westminster has full control. You would have thought that they would have looked at the French experience of re-starting schools, but no they are still stubbornly set on their plan to get their parents back to work – even at the risk of setting off new chains of infection.
Yesterday, the SKWAWKBOX reported the re-closure of seven schools in northern France after more than seventy new coronavirus cases were confirmed linked to them, just a week after the French government sent around a third of the country’s school-age children back to school.
The situation is developing rapidly – and now more than fifty schools have been closed across France after new confirmed or likely cases of the virus were identified.
Yet the UK media again seems to be stubbornly ignoring the French situation, while continuing to push a line that re-opening schools in England is low-risk – and even attacking teachers, unions, doctors and others who have expressed concerns or challenged the government to show the data on which it is basing its claim that children can safely return to the classroom.
If the French experience is any guide, I shall be happy if Scotland proceeds more cautiously than England. So I say to Nicola Ca’ canny hen.