Wales

Coronavirus quarantine: Welsh holidaymakers try to get home from France

Disneyland Paris Image copyright EPA
Image caption Disneyland Paris is one of Europe's top visitor attractions

A school worker from Wales says he is "crossing everything" he will be able to get home from France by Monday so he can return on the first day of term.

It was announced on Thursday that anyone entering the UK from a number of places, including France, from Saturday must quarantine for 14 days.

It is after a rise in coronavirus cases there and other countries.

Hefin Karadog, from Pontypridd, is in Brittany and one of 160,000 UK nationals in France who are affected.

He is now trying to book a ferry to return home before Monday - which would mean he could be back in school when they open at the start of September.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said "it's the right thing to do" if those who do not get home by Monday miss the start of the new term because they are quarantining.

On Thursday night, the UK and Welsh governments announced the quarantine rule would be imposed for people returning from France as well as the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, and Aruba, from 04:00 BST Saturday.

The decision was taken when the rate of infection in the affected countries exceeded 20 cases per 100,000 people over seven days.

Image copyright Brittany Ferries
Image caption Hefin Karadog is hoping to book with Brittany Ferries to sail home on the weekend

Mr Drakeford admitted it would have a big impact on a lot of holidaymakers.

But he added: "We can't afford to import coronavirus into the United Kingdom, when we've all worked so hard to suppress the level."

In terms of children returning to school, he said: "We've always said in Wales that we will have a first couple of weeks in September where schools will settle into the new routine of the autumn term in the continuing coronavirus crisis.

"So I don't think that that will materially add to that settling down period which we planned for in any case."

Mr Karadog said rather than feeling overly disappointed when he heard the news Thursday, he understands the seriousness of the situation and realised he would need to spend Friday making arrangements to get home.

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Image caption Eurostar passengers have been arriving at St Pancras station in London, having beaten the quarantine deadline

"We are in Brittany trying to contact Brittany Ferries because we want to catch a ferry as soon as possible. They are quite difficult to get hold of at the moment," he added.

Mr Karadog had originally been due to return home a week Tuesday with his girlfriend and her two daughters.

He said: "In terms of work, I work in a school, so I'm crossing everything that I will be able to return before Monday.

"This would allow me to be able to start work on the first day of the school term."

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Image caption Tables and deckchairs are set out to respect social distancing on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice

David and Ruth Thomas had been in France for 12 days with their two children when the news broke - and had not booked a return home because they thought such a decision may be made.

"We were in the Loire Valley when we heard and managed to get a return (ferry) from Dunkirk," Mr Thomas said.

"We left at 3am, drove all night and got there just in time."

The family had travelled to France through the Eurotunnel but described the prices to return through that route as "incredible".

They are now back in the UK meaning their children, who are 15 and 13, will be able to start the new school year in September.

'Disappointing'

Carys Coverdale lives near Nice and had been looking forward to spending time with her family from Wales over the next few weeks.

Her sister and family are visiting until Tuesday and, because her brother-in-law works from home, they have been able to "change things around" and quarantine when they arrive back in Wales.

"But my mum can't visit next week because there is too much going on, which is a shame because we haven't seen her since February," she added.

"It's not unexpected but still disappointing for everyone."

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