Travellers returning to the UK from France have expressed frustration at having to quarantine for two weeks after missing the deadline by several hours.
Eurostar services to St Pancras from Paris appeared to be quieter than on Friday, which saw thousands of passengers snap up tickets at increased prices to get home before 4am on Saturday to avoid a fortnight of self-isolation.
Three friends at the London rail station said they will have to isolate despite all testing negative for coronavirus in the past 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 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.”
Ms Coupe added: “It doesn’t really make sense. The UK was the last to quarantine and now they’re bringing in these hardcore measures.”
Meanwhile, Sanne Williams, who works in a care home, said she faces losing out on a week’s wages.
She said it was too expensive to change her ticket to Friday, adding: “I’m obviously annoyed. I was supposed to go back to work on the 21st but now I’ll be at home for another week without money.
“Of course I will quarantine, they have all my details, passport, travel times.”
Natalie Bunch, from London, who works in publishing, arrived in France late on Wednesday and debated whether to cut her seven-day trip short, but has decided to stay on.
She said: “The almost comical part of this is the amount of people who rushed to return to UK to avoid quarantine but might be carrying the virus and therefore spread it with no ramifications.
“Currently the rules say you’re allowed to get public transport to return home to quarantine, which is utterly ridiculous.
“How many people could two of us come into contact with and possibly pass the virus to during that journey? Even if we wore masks and sanitised regularly?”
— Eurotunnel Le Shuttle (@LeShuttle) August 15, 2020
Friday saw tens of thousands of UK tourists in France make last-ditch bids to beat the quarantine, with tickets for planes, trains and ferries going for increased prices, with some air fares around six times more expensive than usual.
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, the train service which carries vehicles through the Channel Tunnel, said it carried nearly 30% more vehicles from France to the UK on Friday than forecast.
Some 22 extra departures were laid on, carrying more than 30,000 passengers in 11,600 vehicles, it said.
The dash to get home was prompted by the decision to impose a 14-day self-isolation quarantine on travellers from France due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the country.
The quarantine conditions also apply to travellers returning to or visiting the UK from the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba.