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British travelers rush to return home to avoid COVID-19 quarantine

Aug. 14 (UPI) — Some British travelers in France are rushing to return home before dawn Saturday so they won’t have to face a mandatory two-week quarantine under new government restrictions.

Travelers who return to Britain from France after 4 a.m. Saturday will have to self-quarantine for 14 days. The updated mandate also affects British travelers returning from the Netherlands, Malta, Monaco, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba.

Returning to Britain ahead of the new restrictions, however, might be difficult for some.

Car-carrying Channel Tunnel trains are full and prices for Eurostar tickets from Paris to London started close to $300 on Friday. Ferries from Calais to Dover cost more than $260 and airfares from Paris to London Heathrow Airport were close to $600. The same tickets become markedly cheaper after the Saturday deadline.

“I think given what’s happened this summer, given what’s already happened in places like Spain and the vast amount of coverage about concerns in France and elsewhere, no one will be entirely surprised,” British transport secretary Grant Shapps said. “But I do sympathize with people. As I say, I’ve been there myself and ended up having to quarantine as a result.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said adding France and the other areas to the quarantine list was necessary.

“We have got to be absolutely ruthless about this, even with our closest and dearest friends and partners,” he said. “I think everybody understands that.”

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