Couple who beat the 14-day quarantine by TWO MINUTES are among Britons dashing home from France on bikes and fishing boats to get home
- Bernard Rust's Jaguar E-Pace rolled off the ferry at Newhaven at 3.58am
- Arrivals from France after 4am are forced to quarantine at home for two weeks
- Mr Rust, 60, was staying in La Rochelle and had already booked to return by ferry
As his Jaguar E-Pace rolled off the ferry at Newhaven at 3.58am, Bernard Rust breathed a sigh of relief and allowed himself a wry smile.
With just two minutes to spare, he had beaten the 4am deadline after which all new arrivals from France are forced to quarantine at home for two weeks.
The financial adviser and his partner, Sarah Holloway, from East Sussex, were among tens of thousands of Britons who raced through the night - on ferries, trains, chartered planes and even fishing boats - to avoid rules announced at short notice on Thursday evening.
The 11th-hour move to include France on the UK's quarantine list sparked chaos for 160,000 British holidaymakers in the country. For those who cannot afford to spend 14 days isolating at home, it prompted a mad dash for the exit to be back in Britain before the early morning deadline.
As his Jaguar E-Pace rolled off the ferry at Newhaven at 3.58am, Bernard Rust (pictured with his partner Sarah Holloway) breathed a sigh of relief and allowed himself a wry smile
Mr Rust, 60, who had stayed in La Rochelle for a week, said it was fortunate that he was already booked to return on the ferry from Dieppe to Newhaven, which got back just in the nick of time.
He added: 'We knew it was scheduled to get back at 4am but what if we were delayed by a minute? I called the Government's Covid hotline and asked them what does being in the UK mean - does it mean being in UK waters?
They said it means "when I'm in the UK region". They didn't seem to have a satisfactory answer and they didn't put our minds at ease.'
After calling other ferry firms to try to get an earlier crossing - and finding them fully booked - Mr Rust went ahead with his booking. He said: 'Normally I try and get a couple of hours' sleep, but there was no chance.
I kept going up to the top deck to see if I could see land and finally I could see Newhaven harbour at 3.30am. I thought, "Blimey, we're going to make it".'
A group of musicians also beat the France quarantine rules with just ten minutes to spare after chartering a fishing boat to get them back to the UK. After a performance in Lessay Abbey, Normandy, on Friday night, eight members of the Scotland-based Dunedin Consort arrived at Hayling Island in Hampshire at 3.50am. 'We looked into ferries, the Eurotunnel, flights, even chartering a private jet -- you name it, we tried it, but we couldn't find any way of doing the concert and getting home before the quarantine curfew,' said Jo Buckley, the Dunedin Consort's chief executive.
Passengers disembark from the penultimate ferry to Newhaven from Dieppe before 14-day quarantine rules become obligatory to people returning from France
The Dunedin Consort wrote on Twitter: 'Au revoir France!
As exits from concerts go, this one is quite unique. We're sailing back to the UK on a fishing boat overnight to beat the quarantine.'
But thousands missed the deadline. Alexis Walmsley, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, missed the last Eurostar train from Paris to London and must now quarantine for the next 14 days with her disabled son after her train from Avignon to Paris was delayed in Lyon.
She said her son 'won't understand quarantine' and the family 'don't even know where we will sleep tonight'.
Ms Walmsley wrote on Twitter: 'So near and yet so far. Reorganised my return from France to ensure my disabled son didn't have to quarantine but our TGV was so delayed we are going to miss the last Eurostar home.'
She added: 'Made new booking for me and my disabled son (who won't understand quarantine) from Avignon to Paris for the Eurostar.
A group of musicians also beat the France quarantine rules with just ten minutes to spare after chartering a fishing boat to get them back to the UK
'We'd have made it home but for a massive delay at Lyon. Now I don't even know where we will sleep tonight.'
At St Pancras Station at 9am yesterday, a dejected IT worker who gave his name as Dmitri, from London, said: 'I had been in Paris visiting a now ex-girlfriend.
I wanted to come back yesterday but I couldn't get a ticket. My ticket today was double the price.'
However, some people were still making their way to France, despite the new rules. IT worker John Kweku, from London, said: 'The quarantine is the right thing.
I'll be coming back in a week, and I'll be quarantining. I work from home so that's fine.' Antoine, a finance worker from London, said: 'I don't particularly like the idea of having to quarantine but I understand why they are doing it. I am due to be back in ten days, but I might stay for longer.
Either way, I can work remotely.'
The quarantine rules also apply to the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba amid concerns about a rising numbers of Covid cases. The captain of a North Sea ferry back from the Netherlands ordered full speed ahead from the Hook of Holland to Harwich, cutting three hours off the 120-mile crossing to arrive back by 3.45am.
Travellers from France arrive at the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras International
I am returning from a quarantine country. What do I need to do?
First, fill in a 'locator form' online.
This includes your travel history, contact details and the UK address where you will be self-isolating for 14 days. Border Force agents will check you have completed this form before you are allowed through passport control.
Are there exceptions?
YES. Those who do not need to self-isolate after arriving in Britain include airline, ferry and rail staff on cross-Channel services, as well as workers who commute between the UK and a quarantine country more than once a week.
Hauliers are exempt, as are seasonal farm workers and anyone with 'specialist technical skills' needed for emergency work. Exemptions can also be granted on health grounds.
What if I am driving back via France?
There is no need to self-isolate or even fill out a form - as long as you do not physically set foot in the country, or have anyone join you during the journey.
Does quarantine really mean 14 days indoors?
YES. You can't nip out to exercise or shop, and are not allowed visitors unless they are providing emergency help or medical care.
Food should be ordered online or delivered by friends or family.
Does anyone else in my house have to self-isolate if they didn't travel?
No. Only those who travelled to a quarantine country have to self-isolate for 14 days. The rest of the household can carry on as normal - although they should try to minimise contact with anyone who is self-isolating.
What happens to those who break the rules?
EVEN failing to fill out a locator form is a criminal offence, which could result in a GBP100 fine.
Those caught breaching quarantine face a GBP1,000 penalty in England, or even prosecution - which can result in an unlimited fine.
How will this be enforced?
Public health officials will carry out random checks by telephone. If these raise doubts, police will visit the address in question.
Can I claim statutory sick pay if I'm in quarantine?
NoT unless you're sick. The Government has asked firms to go easy on staff who get caught out - and says workers can claim Universal Credit if their boss won't pay them while they self-isolate.
I have a holiday booked to a quarantine country.
Should I go anyway?
It's up to you. The Foreign Office now warns against 'all but essential' travel to countries on the list. Most insurance policies will not cover medical expenses in this scenario.
In addition, countries are likely to respond with their own measures for arrivals from Britain.
Will I get my money back if I cancel my trip?
IT depends. If your hotel or villa is still open there is no legal right to a refund - but some websites such as Airbnb allow for last-minute cancellations. When it comes to travel, you also have no right to a refund if your airline's route is still running - although you should get a voucher or free rebooking.
These are also being offered to ferry customers due to travel in August. Eurostar says passengers with a booking up to September 7 can get a voucher valid for 12 months.Advertisement
Mum Rachel Fortnum-Adams, 47, from Ipswich, who had paid GBP300 to get her 13-year-old son Joseph and his friends home from a table tennis competition in the Netherlands, said: 'It was great to see them coming out of the terminal. I am one very relieved mum.'
There were signs of retaliation against the Government's move last night.
Dutch authorities warned against 'all but essential travel' to Britain, and France has indicated it may 'reciprocate' with similar measures, meaning Britons would need six weeks off just to enjoy two weeks of holiday - including two weeks' quarantine in France followed by another fortnight in Britain after their trip.
One family made it back to Britain with just hours to spare. Matt, a teacher from Manchester who did not share his second name, took his car on a Channel Tunnel train which was due to arrive back in the UK at 3.55am.
- Children required to quarantine on return from holiday must be back in the UK by Tuesday, or they will be unable to return to school on September 2
- Up to 500,000 Britons have had their holidays ruined, while official estimates suggest some 160,000 Britons are trying to leave France before Saturday
- Meanwhile, French officials have suggested the country will impose quarantine restrictions of people arriving from Britons 'within days', sources suggest
- 'Reciprocal arrangements are common in these situations and these are likely within days,' said the French government source
- It comes after the UK insisted that anybody arriving from France from 4am on Saturday will have to spend two weeks self-isolating
- Last night, Grant Shapps sparked chaos by incorrectly saying that it would apply to people who 'come back from Sunday', as opposed to Saturday
- The Department of Transport was forced to quickly clarify the correct day
His family had been camping in the Dordogne and had planned to come home on Monday but changed their tickets for an extra GBP115.
The family drove for 10 hours to Calais to catch the train and spent another GBP66 to stay at a hotel in the early hours before driving on to Manchester.
'We literally got on the last available train. We'd been keeping up-to-date with the chaos at Calais so we were fearing the worst,' the 40-year-old said.
'Luckily, once we got to Calais we sailed through and actually got back at just gone 3am.'
Three friends returning to London this evening said they will have to quarantine despite testing negative for the virus in the last week.
School worker Lou Le Mener, 23, student Aurelia Crea and IT worker Marine Coupe, 25, all French nationals living together in London, arrived back at St Pancras on Saturday evening after visiting family.
Ms Crea said: 'We wanted to come back yesterday but it was about 300 euros a ticket and the website was crashing.
Then you have a lot of people in the same place, crowded trying to come back. The Eurostar today was very quiet.
'I feel it's unfair for us to have to quarantine but we will do it. In Paris we have to wear masks almost everywhere, we already felt trapped there and now we are trapped again.'
One mother was forced to leave two of her children behind with her husband when she fled France on the last Eurostar train.
The woman - who had to return to the UK before quarantine began due to her job - was only able to get tickets for herself and her baby.
She now fears her two daughters - who will return on Monday - may not be out of quarantine when their school goes back.
The move has ruined the holiday plans of an estimated 500,000 Britons in France, and travel bosses have warned of days of chaos.
Alexis Walmsley (pictured) from Basingstoke missed the last Eurostar train meaning both she and her disabled son now have to quarantine for 14 days
Eurostar passengers arrive at St Pancras Station in London from Paris on the first train after a quarantine was put in effect for people returning from France
A coronavirus infection map of France has revealed that only Paris and Marseilles have major outbreaks while most of the country is barely affected at all. The percentage number shows the proportion of coronavirus tests coming back positive
Travellers arrive back in the UK from France at St. Pancras station in London after the quarantine came into force at 4am
Eurotunnel tickets for crossings this weekend and into next week were selling out fast last night, along with Eurostar trains out of Paris.
Flights with British Airways, Ryanair and EasyJet sold out within minutes of the announcement on Thursday night.
The cost of tickets for the few remaining seats on flights from Nice and Paris jumped ten-fold to GBP800 yesterday morning. Tickets for the Channel Tunnel sold out in hours as 12,000 people tried to move their bookings forward.
French officials are frustrated that the UK made its decision to quarantine arrivals from the whole of France when many areas - particularly on the west and north coast - have low infection rates.
UK officials said Britain saw 1,012 confirmed cases of coronavirus yesterday and three deaths, bringing the toll to 41,361 people.
People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow Airport on Friday at Nice airport, southern France
Families made a last-minute dash across the Channel last night ahead of the 4am cut-off this morning when France was added to the UK's quarantine list. Pictured: A family arriving from Dieppe last night
Travellers arrive back in the UK from Paris.
All passengers wear their protective coronavirus face mask while they travel