Heartbroken Britons who have not seen family members due to the coronavirus pandemic have expressed frustration over the late decision to quarantine travelers returning to England from France for 10 days, this which means that many will no longer be able to see their loved ones.
From Monday, people in the UK who have had two injections of Covid-19 will no longer have to self-isolate when returning to England from Orange List countries such as Greece, Portugal and the ‘Spain.
France was due to be included in the plans, but on Friday evening the government announced that the easing of restrictions would not apply to the country due to “persistent” cases of the beta variant first identified in South Africa .
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There are concerns that Covid-19 vaccines may not work as effectively against the beta variant.
The late change in rules means travelers will still be forced to quarantine themselves for 10 days even if they have been doubly vaccinated.
The policy change has not only caused chaos for those already on vacation in France or due to travel there in the coming weeks, but it has dashed the hopes of many anxious to reunite with their loved ones.
“I haven’t seen my parents for two years and I desperately want to see my family in France,” Sabrina Hicklin said. I.
“I cried a bit this morning from the frustration and heartbreak over the rule changes, which means I still can’t see them.
“For me, it’s not about a vacation; I just wanted to go back to France and see my mom and dad because I miss them so much.
Sabrina, 44, who lives in Suffolk, is originally from France but has lived in the UK for 25 years after coming here to work.
She has a large family in France comprising her parents, brother, aunts, uncles and cousins and has always enjoyed visiting them regularly.
However, the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions kept her from going for two years – and that even meant her parents couldn’t come to the UK for her wedding to husband Paul last year.
Now that she is double vaccinated, she had booked to go to France on August 21, but the rule change means she cannot go because they cannot self-quarantine.
“I am a freelance esthetician and I cannot afford not to work for 10 more days during my 40s.” she explained. “And my husband can’t quarantine at all.
“This is the price of all the testing you have to do, because not everyone can afford it.
“I desperately want to see my family and feel seriously trapped.”
Sabrina, who has two teenage boys from her previous marriage, says everyone thought getting the vaccine twice was the way out of the pandemic, but says the last-minute U-turn on France shows it’s not. is “clearly not the case”.
“I just don’t understand.” she said. “It doesn’t make sense because the cases of Covid in the UK are much worse than in France.
“It’s all the uncertainty and consistency that is the worst thing. I would rather the government say that no one can travel anywhere this summer than this constant change of rules so abruptly.
“I don’t know when I’ll see my parents again. I couldn’t wait to finally be able to spend time with them again, but now it’s happened.
“I lost my grandfather during the pandemic and life is too short and you never know what lies ahead. It is devastating to be kept away from your family.
Shyama Chandrasekhar, 55, who lives in Harrow, said I she was looking forward to seeing her son Aditya, 28, who lives in France and plans to visit her for a few days.
She and her husband also hoped to go to France to spend time with him, but the rule change to mean a 10-day quarantine requirement has derailed their plans.
“It’s not just the quarantine, but also the cost of all the additional testing. It is so heartbreaking. Said the mom of two.
“We only managed to see our son once during the pandemic when he came over for Christmas, but he couldn’t even enjoy his Christmas lunch properly because there was a sudden travel ban in France and he had to rush to get in and sort on the PCR tests.
“Now that he’s fully vaccinated, he was planning to come see us for a few days and me and my husband were going to France to spend time with him.
“But now the quarantine rules mean none of us can do that. My son would have to quarantine himself if he came here and if we were to go for a week then we would have to quarantine for 10 days and we can’t do it because of the work. ”
Shyama, head of exams at a school, says she has French colleagues who were planning to visit their families and are “absolutely gutted” by the rule change.
“I want people to know that families are being torn apart by this quarantine requirement. ” she said. “We have been fully vaccinated and are wearing masks and taking all necessary precautions, but it looks like it will never end.
“As a mom, I feel devastated that I couldn’t see my son because I couldn’t wait to see him.”
Gemma Antrobus, of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, said the travel industry was not expecting the government action. She said: “We must not forget that it is not only about travel for leisure purposes, it is also about reuniting families, who will again have to wait months, if not more, before to be able to do it for free, so that they come back (and) do not have to isolate themselves. “