The French government has now said British citizens travelling to France when the borders partially reopen on 11th May will not be quarantined in a dramatic u-turn.
The hasty clarification comes after French Health Minister Olivier Veran announced on Saturday that the government plans to “prolong the health state of emergency against COVID-19 for two months until 24th July” and that there would be quarantine measures in place when the borders partially reopen on 11th May.
But the Elysee Palace has now hastily added that EU member states and the Schengen zone would be exempt, as would be the United Kingdom.
The Elysee said that people arriving from a zone that was not the European Union (EU), the Schengen zone or the United Kingdom would be subjects to measures “which would be clarified by the Quai d’Orsay [the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs] in the coming days.”
The Elysee’s statement has been echoed by the French Embassy to the UK on Twitter, which said: “People entering France from the European area (EU, Schengen and the UK) will NOT be affected by the FR quarantine measure, whose practical details will soon be specified.”
The Interior Ministry, in the meantime, has announced that the border restrictions that are currently in place will continue to be applied, including increased inspections.
Sibeth Ndiaye, the government spokesperson, said on Sunday a list of countries deemed to be “at risk” would soon be made available, but provided no further details other than that “mandatory quarantine measures” would apply.
France’s plan to prolong the state of emergency to July is to be discussed today in the French Parliament.
The health minister’s statement, and then the Elysee’s apparent backpedalling, have left people confused, as evidenced by netizens commenting on the French Embassy’s Twitter post.
‘Mafevema’ asked: “Will EU/EFTA/UK citizen still have to fill in attestation de deplacement as currently applicable which in effect bars entry into France except very limited cases?” (sic)
And ‘John Lichfield’ said: “[…] Fr Govt all over the place on this (though there communications are usually good). Maybe more changes or clarifications.”
While ‘Douentza Garden’ said: “You don’t mention Ireland?”
And ‘Loic Brohard’ asked (in French): “Will there be reciprocity for the entry of French people into the United Kingdom?”
Some measures to begin ending isolation are being applied this week in about 15 European countries, following the model adopted by Italy, which has been forcing people to stay home for two months.
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