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TRAVELLING TO FRANCE

What you need to know about UK quarantine if you are travelling from Europe

From June 8th, the UK has introduced a compulsory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals to its shores - here's what you need to know about the rules if you are travelling from Europe.

What you need to know about UK quarantine if you are travelling from Europe
Photo: AFP

Unlike most European countries, the UK has had no border restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, but from Monday, June 8th, it has introduced a quarantine for all international arrivals.

There are still no restrictions on who can enter the country and no requirement to prove that your trip is essential, but if you are going to the UK – the country with the highest Covid-19 death toll in Europe – from a European country from June 8th you may be subject to quarantine.

Here's what the rules say:

Online form

If you are travelling into the UK you will need to fill out an online form before your arrival, giving your travel details, contact details and the address where you intend to self isolate. Failure to have a filled-out form on arrival in an airport, port or Channel Tunnel terminal could net you a £100 (€112) fine.

The rules apply to everyone entering the UK, both British citizens and foreigners.

Self-isolation

The quarantine obliges people to self-isolate at the address provided for 14 days. You are allowed to take public transport to get to your final destination, although people are asked to use private transport where possible. Masks are not currently compulsory on public transport in the UK, although they will be from June 15th.

While self-isolating you are allowed to leave the address to shop for food. You are not allowed to receive visitors, but if you are self-isolating with friends or family members, they do not need to self-isolate.

Exemptions

There are quite a few groups of people exempt from the restrictions and they include

  • Lorry drivers and other delivery staff
  • Medical professionals engaged in the battle against Covid-19
  • Foreign officials travelling for work, such as the French police officers who work in British ports
  • Anyone travelling from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
  • Seasonal agricultural workers

British Home Secretary Priti Patel. Photo: AFP

Fines

You can be fined £100 (€112) for not filling in the form or up to £1,000 (€1,120) for breaching self-isolation conditions, while foreign nationals who breach conditions could be deported.

However there is a fair amount of confusion on how this will actually be enforced. The British home secretary Priti Patel, when announcing the measures, said that local health officials would be in charge of enforcing it and could make spot checks, but there has been little detail revealed on how this would work in practice.

The fines will only be enforced in England, as leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have yet to say whether and how they will enforce the rules in their jurisdictions.

How long will it go on for?

When announcing the quarantine, Patel said that it would be reviewed every three weeks, which takes us up to June 29th. The policy has been pretty unpopular domestically and is also subject to a legal challenge from airlines Easyjet, Ryanair and BA owner IAG.

Does it affect travel out of the UK?

France has announced that it will take “reciprocal measures” against any country imposing a quarantine, which means that from June 8th, all arrivals in the France from the UK will also be subject to a 14-day quarantine. However in France the measures are voluntary and will not be subject to checks or enforcement.

If you are travelling from the UK to Europe, be sure to check the border restrictions on the country you are travelling to – many European countries are still limiting travel to essential journeys only until at least June 15th.

 

 

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COVID-19

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

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