The French Connection

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.

And this

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.

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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.

5 thoughts on “The French Connection

  1. Call Kaye encouraging callers questions on testing (in Scotland) without a representative of Scottish Government (medical or political) present.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Parents will make the decision and no politician should deny them that. I hear there are a good few Tory mothers not happy either!


  3. On the subject of incoming flights we know from Taiwan that airports and planes are significant points of transmission. So why did the UK government not suspend travel into the UK?

    “Based on these factors and our experience, Chen is correct in asserting that this coronavirus can be found in the cabins of many airplanes, and therefore people should avoid flying. However, not enough emphasis is being placed on the roles of international airports in spreading COVID-19, due to the numerous passengers and many aircraft arriving for maintenance.

    From a statistical point of view, the probability of physically encountering the novel coronavirus or of being exposed to infected individuals in large international airports or in the cabins of airplanes is much higher than in homes, workplaces, schools or other public spaces.”

    There is also this from the abstract of a study. It is a pre-print, the study is yet to be peer reviewed.

    “Conclusion: International travel was directly associated with the mortality slope and thus potentially the spread of COVID-19. Stopping international travel, particularly from affected areas, may be the most effective strategy to control COVID outbreak and prevent related deaths.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It isn’t as if there were no warnings about the dangers of transmission posed by travellers.

    “24 January: The WHO advises screening, interviews and contact tracing in “affected areas” – by this time most of Europe.

    27 January: updated WHO guidance stresses the importance of screening international travellers.

    11 February: The WHO emphasises again that ‘containment’ requires checking airport staff and strict quarantine measures.

    26 February: Health Secretary Matt Hancock promises ‘extended measures’ at airports. They never materialise.

    29 February: The WHO specifically criticises the lack of airport checks to contain COVID-19.

    Professor Van-Tam rightly pointed out that, in the early weeks of February when the virus was seemingly confined to China, passengers from Hubei were quarantined on arrival in the UK. But, as the health tsunami spread and swept inexorably towards Britain, no action was taken to stem the flow of travellers from other badly infected countries or to check if they had symptoms.

    Incredibly, as the global crisis worsened, Britain went it alone – as far as I can tell –among the nations of the world by keeping its borders completely open and imposing almost no compulsory (or even random) health checks on passengers arriving in the country.”


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