British medical officials announced on Friday that fully vaccinated travelers arriving in England from France must remain in quarantine due to the threat of the beta variant, although vaccinated travelers from other European countries on the UK’s medium-risk amber list will no longer be quarantined from Monday.
Monday is celebrated as England’s ‘Freedom Day’ when almost all coronavirus restrictions are lifted. The British decision angered many whose travel plans to and from France were disrupted by the new restrictions.
Travelers from France – along with anyone who has traveled to France in the previous 10 days – will be quarantined in their own accommodation for five to 10 days, and they will need a coronavirus test on Day 2 and Day 8.
This is one of the country’s first major actions in connection with the Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa. Clinical studies show that vaccines provide: less protection against Beta. Until now, Britain has been focused on the threat of the Delta variant, first identified in India, which is now dominant in Britain, France and the United States.
France has announced new vaccination requirements in its fight against Delta, but continues to open up to travelers. Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Saturday that unvaccinated travelers from Britain, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Greece will be allowed to enter France from Sunday if they show negative results from a coronavirus test taken within 24 hours of their departure. . arrival.
Travelers who have been fully vaccinated with the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson can enter without a negative test.
Among those whose travel plans have been disrupted by the new restrictions is Liliane (not Liliame, as an earlier version of this entry noted) Aubourg, a French citizen living in Britain. She hasn’t seen her 62-year-old mother, who lives alone, for almost two years. Ms. Aubourg, 36, who is fully vaccinated, planned to travel to France in August with her husband, who is also vaccinated.
“Waking up last night to the news that there is actually a U-turn for France, it’s just so disheartening,” said Ms Aubourg, who has now canceled her trip. “We haven’t told our family yet. My mother is elderly, my husband’s parents are elderly. We just want to see our family.”
Juliet Walton, 50, a British citizen living in southwestern France, will travel to Britain on July 24 for her daughter’s 22nd birthday party. Now with the new restrictions, Ms Walton will be quarantined upon her arrival.
With “Brexit and a pandemic it’s just an absolute nightmare,” Ms Walton said. “It’s just so poorly thought out and unnecessary. I’ve had both shots. I was looking forward to getting some sort of normalcy.”
Callum Sowler, 35, who flew to the south of France on Tuesday to visit his fiancé’s family, will now be quarantined with his fiancé and their son, who joined him on Friday for the summer break when they return to England.
“It has turned what should have been a nice vacation into something causing us sleep loss last night and stress this morning because we really don’t know what to do now,” said Mr. Sowler.
Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, a French MEP and an oncologist, said: “I really don’t understand the decision”, adding that the beta variant “wasn’t a problem in mainland France”, but more in Reunion Island, a French department about 4,000 miles from Europe, off the southeast coast of Africa.
Some studies have shown that the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, the backbone of the UK vaccination campaign, has been less effective in preventing mild and moderate beta cases, which Ms Trillet-Lenoir says could be a motivation behind the UK government’s decision. for the new restrictions.