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Short version: Are there separate (COVID 19) rules for travel between the UK and the Netherlands, and Belgium or France, based on the mode of transport (flights or ferries and trains)?

Long version: My long distance relation boyfriend and I usually meet each other a few times each year, him traveling to continental Europe (the Netherlands, Belgium, France) or me from the Netherlands to the UK and the other coming to the same place.
We select our mode of travel based on convenience, cost and a bit of environmental concern.

In these COVID 19 days we wonder whether there is a difference how quarantaine (or self isolation) rules work between the different modes of transport.

As we are each citizen in our own country, visa rules do not matter to us, but for completeness sake, if there is a real difference that can be included.

At the time of writing, there seems to be a huge difference in cancelation rates, with flights being cancelled more often than they happen but as I expect changing the quarantaine rules to change that, I want to keep that out of this question. I may ask a different question if it seems relevant.

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  • I am looking whether the UK makes a difference when people arrive by ferry or flight, NL or France and same on the way back.
    – Willeke
    Jun 26 '20 at 8:30
  • I am not looking for the actual rules.
    – Willeke
    Jun 26 '20 at 8:31
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    you are, though, indirectly. Where else would any difference come from?
    – Chris H
    Jun 26 '20 at 8:33
  • @ChrisH, I can look up the rules for flying Amsterdam to London, what I am asking this question for is whether these same rules are also valid if I travel by train or ferry.
    – Willeke
    Jun 26 '20 at 12:32
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The quarantine rules are based on having spent time in a given country in the 14 days before arriving in the UK, regardless of the mode of transport.

The only time when mode of transport becomes relevant is:

  • you are travelling from country A, which is deemed 'safe' by the UK (i.e.: on a 'travel corridor'); but
  • you travel via country B, which is not deemed 'safe' by the UK.

In that case, the manner of your transit via country B becomes relevant. If your transport through country B does not involve any stopping or mingling with the local population, then you may not have to quarantine.

At present, the Netherlands (your "country A") is not deemed 'safe' by the UK, so you would have to quarantine regardless of mode of transport.

Example -- Germany (not subject to quarantine)

However, if your "country A" had been Germany, which the UK currently deems a 'safe' country, then mode of transport becomes relevant, as the following examples show:

  • Germany to the UK via train -- unfortunately, there are no direct non-stop trains from Germany to the UK, so you would have to quarantine (because you have to transit in Brussels, and the Eurostar would probably stop at Lille -- that gives two transit countries (Belgium and France), which are both deemed 'unsafe');
  • Germany to the UK via direct flight -- you would not have to quarantine;
  • Germany to the UK via car and ferry -- there are no direct ferries from Germany, so you would need to drive to the Netherlands or France (both 'unsafe'), and, even if you never leave your car while transiting those countries, you cannot stay in your car on the ferry, so you would mingle with ferry passengers who had just been in an 'unsafe' country'
  • Germany to the UK via car and Eurotunnel service -- if you never leave your car while driving through France/Belgium/Netherlands (not even to get petrol), and you stay in your car during the Eurotunnel trip, you would not have to quarantine.

If the Netherlands becomes a 'safe' country again, but France and Belgium do not

Let us imagine, hypothetically, that the Netherlands is deemed 'safe' by the UK, but France and Belgium are not deemed safe. Then, you would avoid quarantine in the UK (assuming you had not been to any 'unsafe' country in the last 14 days) if you:

  • got a direct ferry from the Netherlands to the UK (there are at least three options);
  • got a direct flight from the Netherlands to the UK;
  • drive a car to Calais (in France) without exiting your car while in France and Belgium (and without taking any hitch-hikers from those countries!) (ensure you have enough petrol!) and then getting the Eurotunnel service to the UK, still without exiting your car.
  • [MAYBE] the direct Eurostar service from Amsterdam to London due to start in October 2020 may be a possibility, depending on whether there is a risk of mingling with passengers joining the train at Brussels (I think the Brussels-London passengers would be in a separate portion of the train, so it may not matter, so long as nobody can walk between the separate portions).
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    Welcome to the site and thank you for a great first answer :)
    – JonathanReez
    Sep 5 '20 at 2:22
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In these COVID 19 days we wonder whether there is a difference how quarantaine (or self isolation) rules work between the different modes of transport.

A search of https://reopen.europa.eu/en indicates that there are no countires in the EU in which quarantine rules are dependant on the mode of transportation used.

The UK's quarantine applies to all travellers regardless of the mode of transportation used.

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    The UK's quarantine applies to all travellers regardless of the mode of transportation used - for now yes until certain entry corridors from certain countries are opened
    – Xnero
    Jun 26 '20 at 9:13

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