Dutch advises against travel to Britain in response to new quarantine rules

The Netherlands told its citizens not to travel to Britain and France threatened retaliatory quarantine measures after the UK put both countries on its coronavirus red list last night.

The British decision, which takes effect on Saturday morning, means travellers returning from France must quarantine for two weeks.

A spokesman for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, "This means that Great Britain will receive a code orange as travel advice, because the Dutch have to be quarantined there." 

The Dutch code orange means holiday travel to the UK is not recommended . It would usually mean quarantine restrictions but the Dutch stopped short of imposing those on people returning from the UK. France last night said it would impose quarantine restrictions on travellers returning from the UK.

That means any British tourist visiting France would face a month in isolation, two weeks on arrival and another fortnight on their return. 

“It is a decision that we regret and one that will entail reciprocal measures in the hope that we can return to normal as quickly as possible," said ClĂ©ment Beaune, France’s Europe Minister.   

British people made 10.3 million trips to France last year, making it the second-most popular overseas destination after Spain, and Britain received 3.6 million visitors from France, the second-largest number after the United States.

The Le Figaro newspaper claimed that Britain was the most "endeuillĂ©" country in Europe with regards to coronavirus, meaning the most severely affected or grief-stricken. 

Le Parisien said the announcement was likely to trigger an "exodus" of some half a million Britons on holiday in France in a race to beat the Saturday deadline. 

Le Monde said: "If a symbol of the resurgence of the epidemic in France was needed, the British have provided it."

Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba were also removed from the UK travel exemptions list, effective from 4am on Saturday. Officials said they were responding to a “significant change in Covid-19 risk” .

Cases in the Netherlands have jumped by 52 percent and France has also reported a steep rise, with Paris and Marseille being designated as “red zones” by the French authorities. Paris and Marseille had in recent days already made the wearing of face masks mandatory in busy public areas.

On Thursday, France reported more than 2,500 new infections for the second day in a row, levels last seen in mid-April when the country was in the middle of one of Europe's strictest lockdowns.

Dutch advises against travel to Britain in response to new quarantine rules

France now joins Spain and Belgium on the quarantine list, deterring trips there and causing new headaches for airlines and travel companies who had been banking on an August recovery.

Belgian hospitals are stockpiling drugs and protective kits and putting in place contingency plans amid a continuing spike in new infections that has forced the capital Brussels to make face masks compulsory in public spaces.

British transport minister Grant Shapps on Friday rejected the idea that travellers should receive compensation for having to quarantine on their return, even if it affected their ability to work, saying people knew the risks of travel.

"People this year will have gone away knowing that there was a significant risk, and because of that people will have gone with their eyes open," Mr Shapps told BBC Radio, "France is heading in the wrong direction [...] we have to act." 

"The last thing we want to do is have people returning and bringing the infection with them," he said, adding that there were around 160,000 Brits due to return from France in the near future.

With more than 41,000 deaths caused by the COVID-19 disease, Britain is the worst-hit country in Europe and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been criticised over his handling of the crisis.

On Thursday, Mr Johnson said the Government would be ­“absolutely ruthless” with imposing the measures, even with “our closest and dearest partners”.

Airlines UK, the industry body representing British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair amongst others, said that a testing regime allowing people to avoid quarantine or quarantine rules which only covered the most affected regions, instead of whole countries, should be brought in instead.

"It's another devastating blow to the travel industry already reeling from the worst crisis in its history," Airlines UK CEO Tim Alderslade said.


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