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Couple who paid nearly £1,000 to beat quarantine deadline are among thousands forced to flee France

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couple who paid nearly 1000 to beat quarantine deadline are among thousands forced to flee france

How can I get home now France is on the UK’s quarantine list? 

Travellers trying to return from France on Friday to avoid the quarantine restrictions face paying hundreds of pounds. 

Flights: Air fares are more than six times higher than normal from Paris to London today. The cheapest British Airways tickets are £452. 

Flight booking website Skyscanner suggested there were no direct flights from Biarritz to London.

The cheapest option it offered was to take one flight to Paris, another to Belfast and a third arriving at London Stansted shortly before midnight, at a total cost of £284.

The lowest priced ticket involving just two flights is £579 with Air France, changing in Paris.

Eurostar: Cheapest ticket on train from Paris to London is £210, compared with £165 on Saturday, a rise up almost 30 per cent. 

Ferries: P&O Ferries has limited availability, but one person travelling with a car from Calais to Dover can buy a ticket for £200.

Eurotunnel: The cost of taking a car through the Channel Tunnel on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle services on Friday morning is £260. All trains after midday are fully booked.   

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A British couple who paid £1,000 for business class Eurostar seats and a family who drove for 12 hours are the among thousands forced to flee France and get home before 4am tomorrow when the country is added to the UK quarantine list. 

The holidays of up to 500,000 Britons have been ruined by the government’s 11th hour move as they try to avoid having to self-isolate for 14 days once they return to the UK.

Grant Shapps sparked the chaos last night when he announced the dramatic step, but suggested it would only apply to people who ‘come back from Sunday’. 

The Department for Transport then clarified the restrictions would come into force tomorrow instead amid accusations that Nicola Sturgeon demanded quarantine was imposed on France tomorrow to ‘flex her muscles’. 

In more bad news for British holidaymakers, Greece could soon be added to the quarantine list, after a spike in its infection rate, with a record 235 cases recorded on August 12. Daily new cases in the country were in the 30s towards the end of July.   

Holidaymakers Stuart and Anna Buntine spent nearly £1,000 on the Eurostar get home from France today. 

Mr Buntine, 58, said outside St Pancras: ‘We didn’t get our notification until this morning, where we were staying in Burgundy there wasn’t a lot of internet.

‘I went to bed last night thinking it was all OK, woke up at 7am to find we had to get back here pretty sharpish. 

‘We couldn’t get tickets, all the sites had crashed. We had to buy business class tickets back today so it’s cost nearly £1,000. It is what it is. 

‘It’s a bit of a b****r but we can’t do much about it can we?’

Mrs Buntine added: ‘We left here with our eyes knowing that it was a possibility, so we decided we’d take that risk.’

The couple, who have a farm in the Midlands and run a sports events company, said they were originally due back on Monday but needed to return sooner due to a work event within the quarantine window.  

Jamie Harrison and wife Bernie, both 43, were taking their three children JJ, nine, Luke, six, and Nelly, three, on a 10-day camping holiday to Nice, France

Jamie Harrison and wife Bernie, both 43, were taking their three children JJ, nine, Luke, six, and Nelly, three, on a 10-day camping holiday to Nice, France

Jamie Harrison and wife Bernie, both 43, were taking their three children JJ, nine, Luke, six, and Nelly, three, on a 10-day camping holiday to Nice, France

Passengers arrive at Gatwick airport today from France (pictured from left to right: Joanne Edmondson, Lily Edmondson, Amelie Duncan, Madeleine Edmondson, David Edmondson)

Passengers arrive at Gatwick airport today from France (pictured from left to right: Joanne Edmondson, Lily Edmondson, Amelie Duncan, Madeleine Edmondson, David Edmondson)

Passengers arrive at Gatwick airport today from France (pictured from left to right: Joanne Edmondson, Lily Edmondson, Amelie Duncan, Madeleine Edmondson, David Edmondson)

Pictured: Estelle Blanc aged 37

Pictured: Estelle Blanc aged 37

Pictured: Dylan Jones

Pictured: Dylan Jones

Passengers arrive at St Pancras International Station from Paris. Last night it was announced that people would have to self isolate after spending time in France, to help stop the spread of Covid 19 (pictured: Estelle Blanc, left, Dylan Jones, right)

One family-of-five told how they cut short their France holiday and drove 12 hours non-stop in a desperate bid to beat the quarantine deadline. 

Julia Burnett, 35, and Craig, 36, had already cut short their camping holiday fearing the worst and were just 60 miles from Calais when the announcement was made.

They drove yesterday for 12 hours from the South of France to Calais with their three children Rory, seven, Isabella, five and Finley, one. 

France quarantine Q&A: What are my refund rights and can I claim on my travel insurance? 

What are my holiday refund rights?

If you have booked a package holiday in France, or any other quarantine country, your tour operator should cancel the holiday. You can then claim a full refund.

Will I get a refund on my flight, ferry or train ticket?

If the airlines continue to operate the route, there is no right although they may offer money back as a goodwill gesture. Ferry operators and Eurostar may offer refunds but most firms will give customers a voucher to rebook at a later date. Eurotunnel says it will give refunds up to 24 hours before travel.

And accommodation?

If a hotel or villa remains open and available, there is no legal right to cancel and get a refund, although some booking websites, such as Airbnb and Booking.com, do offer last-minute cancellation on some listings.

Can I claim on insurance for flights and accommodation?

These are unlikely to be covered if the policy was bought after March 10 when most insurers removed cover for Covid-19-related cancellations.

Can I claim statutory sick pay in quarantine?

No – there is no automatic eligibility to statutory sick pay, unless you meet the required conditions, such as displaying coronavirus symptoms.

What happens if you pass through a country on the quarantine list?

You don’t have to quarantine as long as passengers remain in the car for the whole journey and no one joins them.

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They were due to come back next Wednesday but yesterday decided to set off from Biarritz, after reading rumours about a potential quarantine.

The family, from Taunton in Somerset, managed to book onto a ferry less than an hour before the government announcement.

When they were 60 miles from Calais they discovered their gamble had paid off when they saw news of the rule change. They were in the queue for the ferry crossing feeling ‘tired but relieved’ this morning. 

Ms Burnett told the Mirror: ‘We’d been trying to book onto the Channel tunnel but we eventually booked on the ferry instead. 

‘Then I checked back on the tunnel website straight after the announcement and I was 5,310th in the queue – it was crazy. 

‘Quarantine would have really affected Craig’s work as he runs a dental services business and can’t do it from home.’ 

Travellers rushing to get back to the UK today face paying hundreds of pounds as air fares are now more than six times higher than normal for flights from Paris to London – the cheapest BA tickets being sold for £452.

The cheapest ticket on a Eurostar train from Paris to London is £210, compared with £165 last Saturday, a rise of almost 30 per cent.  

The cost of taking a car through the Channel Tunnel on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle services this morning is £260. All trains after midday are fully booked.

P&O Ferries has limited availability, but one person travelling with a car from Calais to Dover can buy a ticket for £200. They also reported a surge in interest with more than 8,000 searches for tickets this morning.

Meanwhile private jet charter company PrivateFly said demand for flights out of countries being removed from the UK’s quarantine-exemption list has trebled since the announcement was made on Thursday night. 

Many of the thousands affected were cancelling hotels and paying up to £150 a time to change tickets on high-speed trains out of Paris on Friday morning.

‘We’ve got to get back, so paid £150 each for a new ticket,’ said Anna Possenniskie, a 45-year-old teacher from London.

Ms Possenniskie and her husband Sam Possenniskie, 44, who runs the Yestie Boys beer company, had been booked to return from a break next Tueday.

‘It’s a shame we’ve had to cut our holiday short, but we’ve accepted it,’ she said. ‘The government has to do what’s necessary. We haven’t lost a lot of money but I wish we could have stayed longer.’

The Possenniskies were queuing up for their train at the Gare du Nord, the Eurostar hub in Paris, where trains were largely sold out.

This meant desperate travellers queueing up in the Eurostar ticket office and trying to buy seats at the last minute.

How are the UK’s quarantine rules made? 

Decisions are informed by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) risk assessment, which is informed by a number of factors including:

  • An estimate of the proportion of the population that is currently infectious in each country;
  • Virus incidence rates;
  • Trends in incidence and deaths;
  • Transmission status and international epidemic intelligence;
  • Information on a country’s testing capacity;
  • An assessment of the quality of the data available 
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Aimee Meek, 30, a London art director, said she had paid £80 to change her ticket, as well as wasting £200 on unused hotel rooms in the French capital over the weekend.

‘I’m glad I had time to change my ticket because I’ve got to go back to work,’ said Ms Meek.

‘At least it’s better than it was for those who got caught in Spain with only four hours’ notice before quarantine came in, but it’s still ridiculous and very frustrating, though.’

Jasmin and Alex Webb, newly-weds from Devon, spent two nights in Paris on their honeymoon before returning to Britain.

‘Luckily we were due to leave today anyway,’ said Mrs Webb, a 26-year-old finance officer, adding: ‘The quarantine won’t change anything.

‘The virus won’t stop at borders. I think you either ban travel altogether or leave people free to roam. There’s no need for all this travel.’

Mr Webb, 28, said: ‘I’m worried about the situation in Devon with all the people coming in on holiday and possibly spreading the virus..’

Charlotte Couture, a 27-year-old sales and marketing executive from Birmingham, said quarantine would have made getting back to work impossible.

‘It was very important for me to be able to get on a train today, and thankfully that has happened. Health is the priority, and we all have to be sensible. The situation could deteriorate in the weeks ahead.’

Valentine Hutchings, 28, and from London, paid £120 to change her Eurostar ticket: ‘I was booked for tomorrow but what can you do, you’ve got to go by the rules.’

Travellers returning to Britain from France today told of their scramble home to avoid having to quarantine. 

Student Yasmine Sellay, 24, from Wimbledon, South London, was among a packed Eurostar train that arrived at St Pancras station from Paris this morning. 

She said: ‘I wanted to get home before the restrictions are enforced. ‘I didn’t know that France had been added to the UK quarantine list until last night and as I don’t want to isolate for a fortnight I came home today. 

‘I’d been in Paris for a month and a half because it’s where I’m originally from and I was visiting family and friends.   

Nicola Sturgeon ‘stopped holidaymakers from getting an extra 24 HOURS to get back from France’: Scottish First Minister ‘insisted the cut-off should be 4am TOMORROW instead of Sunday’ sparking desperate stampede of Britons to get home 

Sources said Nicola Sturgeon insisted that the deadline was earlier after UK ministers initially mooted 4am on Sunday

Sources said Nicola Sturgeon insisted that the deadline was earlier after UK ministers initially mooted 4am on Sunday

Sources said Nicola Sturgeon insisted that the deadline was earlier after UK ministers initially mooted 4am on Sunday

Nicola Sturgeon was accused of causing chaos for British holidaymakers to ‘flex her muscles’ today after demanding quarantine was imposed on France by 4am tomorrow.

A desperate stampede has been triggered for huge numbers of tourists to get home before new rules come into force making arrivals from across the Channel isolate for 14 days.

Tory MP David Jones said Ms Sturgeon seemed to be trying to ‘flex her muscles’ and suggested it was ‘absolutely’ a case of ‘the tail wagging the dog’, as most travel came through England. 

‘It does look very much as if the devolved administrations are doing what they have been doing for a while, being different for the sake of being different and out of the wish to flex their muscles,’ the former minister told MailOnline. 

‘It is very hard to see that an extra day would have made much difference. 

‘It would not have put so much stress on travellers. If people are rushing back to the UK to avoid this they should consider who to blame.’ 

It appears to be the latest example of Ms Sturgeon gazumping the UK government.

In the earlier stages of the coronavirus crisis the First Minister repeatedly preempted Boris Johnson’s announcements on lockdown at her own briefings. 

She criticised the UK government’s decision to drop ‘stay alert’ messaging, brought in face mask rules significantly before England, and is still encouraging people to work from home where possible. 

Ms Sturgeon says she has put aside the independence issue during coronavirus chaos, with planning for a fresh vote ‘paused’, but has faced accusations of trying to use the situation for political advantage.   

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‘When I arrived in France at the end of June, I had to stay in with my relatives for more than a week and couldn’t go out.  

‘I found it really hard to do so I was keen not to have to do the same when I came back to London.  The Eurostar was full so I think many other people had the same idea as me.’  

Engineers Carolina Monteiro, 24, and Douglas Pagani, 29, who live in France, told PA of their relief at arriving in the UK for a 10-day campervan trip to the Lake District and Yorkshire – just before quarantine measures come into effect on Saturday morning.

Speaking outside St Pancras station, Mr Pagani said: ‘We’re very happy to have the correct ticket just in time. At first I was scared looking at all the information to make sure we could enter here, then we saw it was perfect.

‘It was a relief that we could meet our friends here.’

Ms Monteiro added: ‘We have had this trip planned for three or four months, so we’re lucky to be here just in time.’

Travellers in the south of France face a struggle getting back to the UK before the 4am Saturday quarantine deadline. 

Flight booking website Skyscanner suggested there were no direct flights from Biarritz to London.

The cheapest option it offered was to take one flight to Paris, another to Belfast and a third arriving at London Stansted shortly before midnight, at a total cost of £284.

The lowest priced ticket involving just two flights is £579 with Air France, changing in Paris.

Whichever mode of transport travellers use, they will need to move quickly as many services will be fully booked by Friday afternoon.   

He added that weekly changes to quarantine rules on a national level ‘have proven so disruptive to airlines and passengers’. 

Undeterred passengers at London St Pancras made their way onto the 10.24am Eurostar service to Paris, including lawyer John Strange, 60, from Reading.

He said he was going to the French capital for 10 days and it was possible for him to work from home on his return.

He said: ‘It’s not a disaster for me but it seems for many people it will be, particularly those with young families, it’s going to be catastrophic.

‘I’m sure many will have to cancel their plans and have to accept all that pain and cost that goes with it.’

A traveller who gave her name as Sonata K, a 39-year-old dentist, was due to head to Paris for four nights with her mother – but cancelled her plans after finding out about the quarantine measures at St Pancras on Friday morning.

She said: ‘It’s not worth it to go out and have to self isolate. With my work I can’t do the procedures from home.

‘We were too late to get the news, we’re just finding out here but it’s better than on the train.

‘We’re looking at going to Cardiff and checking trains now, but the weather is changing a bit.’

She added that for £30 they could change their Eurostar tickets to another day and said one hotel had charged them one night’s stay for late cancellation. 

Jack Birkbeck, 23, and George Raybould, 24, were travelling to France to spend five days in the commune of Bantanges, eastern France between Lyon and Dijon to celebrate Jack’s 24th birthday on Saturday with his parents.

The friends, who both work in retail from Maidstone, Kent, are flying out to Geneva with EasyJet today.

They went to sleep thinking they would not have to quarantine but woke up to the news they would have to self isolate for 14 days.

Despite considering cancelling the trip, they decided to go ahead with it due to the money already spent on the break.

Jack said: ‘I literally woke up at 6am to my mum texting me saying ‘are you still coming?’ as they’ve introduced a quarantine. I went to sleep thinking we were safe.

‘The last case where we are going was on July 27 so they’re going strong for the past few weeks. It’s probably even safer than Maidstone. 

‘If we had more time to think about it then maybe we would have cancelled going but we didn’t even have time to change our mind really.

‘I hope the government are doing their best and believe they’ve introduced this now in the best interests of everyone.

‘My boss will probably be angry at me having to isolate. But I’m going to spend quarantine doing work training to make up for it.’

George added: ‘It’s just our luck that the day we go they announce quarantine just hours before we jet off. 

Project managers Bertie Lawrence, 33, and Elske Koelman, 29, have already had relatives cancel attendance of their wedding following the new rules

Project managers Bertie Lawrence, 33, and Elske Koelman, 29, have already had relatives cancel attendance of their wedding following the new rules

Project managers Bertie Lawrence, 33, and Elske Koelman, 29, have already had relatives cancel attendance of their wedding following the new rules

Michelle Irwin (pictured with her family) travelling to the UK from Dieppe today

Michelle Irwin (pictured with her family) travelling to the UK from Dieppe today

Michelle Irwin (pictured with her family) travelling to the UK from Dieppe today

‘As bad as it sounds, where we are going is super rural. It’s not exactly the epicentre of the French pandemic. We are not going out and socialising and will be self contained. 

‘Of course we’re still going to quarantine when we return home but I like to think the chances of us getting it are very low and if anything, we are more likely to give it to them. That would be the classic British thing to do.

Robert Lawrence, 65, from Islington

Robert Lawrence, 65, from Islington

Robert Lawrence, 65, from Islington

‘I’ve only just come off furlough so I don’t think work will take it too well. I feel bad for my colleagues but theres not much I could have done at such short notice.’

A Heathrow spokesman said: ‘The UK needs a more sustainable long-term plan for the resumption of travel than quarantine roulette.  

‘Testing could provide an opportunity to safely reduce the length of quarantine in certain circumstances, protecting both the health and wealth of the nation as we pave a path towards a new normal. 

‘As ever, our teams will be on hand to support passengers impacted by the travel restrictions but we urge Government to work with us to trial a solution which could help to provide more certainty.’ 

One couple, who are getting married in The Netherlands next month, have already had relatives cancel after the UK government announced a 14-day quarantine will come into effect from tomorrow for those returning from France, Malta and Holland.

Other passengers told of late night research into their travel insurance to ensure their holidays could viably go ahead.

Elske Koelman, 29 and her fiancé Bertie Chambers, 33, are travelling to The Netherlands this morning to finalise plans for their wedding in Leiden next month. 

Natalie Mills wrote to MailOnline: 'We are a family currently in the Cote d'Azur. Our scheduled flight is at 10pm tonight - we are desperately hoping there are no delays!'

Natalie Mills wrote to MailOnline: 'We are a family currently in the Cote d'Azur. Our scheduled flight is at 10pm tonight - we are desperately hoping there are no delays!'

Natalie Mills wrote to MailOnline: ‘We are a family currently in the Cote d’Azur. Our scheduled flight is at 10pm tonight – we are desperately hoping there are no delays!’

They originally considered a UK wedding but in December decided to tie the knot at a town hall in the city centre of Elske’s hometown in Leiden.

Elske said: ‘The wedding will be in Leiden which is where I was born and my family are still there.

British expat Stephen Fillery, 72, returned to his home of 15 years in Dordogne, France today. He flew out to Bordeaux at 1.30pm with EasyJet after renovating his flat by the River Thames in Staines, Surrey for his next tenant

British expat Stephen Fillery, 72, returned to his home of 15 years in Dordogne, France today. He flew out to Bordeaux at 1.30pm with EasyJet after renovating his flat by the River Thames in Staines, Surrey for his next tenant

British expat Stephen Fillery, 72, returned to his home of 15 years in Dordogne, France today. He flew out to Bordeaux at 1.30pm with EasyJet after renovating his flat by the River Thames in Staines, Surrey for his next tenant

‘I haven’t seen them for a couple of months so we’ve been looking forward to it, but this makes it all a bit more tricky with the quarantine.

‘Initially we were planning to get married next month and it was going to be 130 guests, but we scaled it down to 20 guests with half of those from the UK.

The couple, both management consultant living in the UK, had to reduce their wedding guest list from 130 to 20 due to the pandemic.

But the new quarantine rule now means it is likely only half of those invited will be able to attend, with Bertie’s auntie and cousins unable to travel due to the quarantine.

He said: ‘This morning we have had calls from my side of the family cancelling: so far my brother and my aunt cannot make it.

‘My mum and dad are retired so luckily they can make it.

‘We are going to the Netherlands today to finalise all the details. We have to speak to the venue, the florist and the restaurant especially because of the quarantine now.’

The couple, who both work in international development and met in Kenya five years ago, have been planning their wedding since they got engaged last year. 

Jack Birkbeck, 23, and George Raybould, 24, are spending five days in the commune of Bantanges, eastern France between Lyon and Dijon to celebrate Jack's 24th birthday on Saturday with his parents

Jack Birkbeck, 23, and George Raybould, 24, are spending five days in the commune of Bantanges, eastern France between Lyon and Dijon to celebrate Jack's 24th birthday on Saturday with his parents

Jack Birkbeck, 23, and George Raybould, 24, are spending five days in the commune of Bantanges, eastern France between Lyon and Dijon to celebrate Jack’s 24th birthday on Saturday with his parents

Frenchman Leo Brettele returned to UK in time for quarantine at Gatwick airport today

Frenchman Leo Brettele returned to UK in time for quarantine at Gatwick airport today

Frenchman Leo Brettele returned to UK in time for quarantine at Gatwick airport today

‘But now we’re expecting it will be smaller than 20 people now that this quarantine is in place.

‘The wedding will be at the municipal building with a lunch in the town centre. Leiden is a beautiful place, small with lots of canals and boat tours.’

The couple say the wedding will still go ahead and plan to work from home once they travel home from the Netherlands before returning for their wedding next month.

Bertie added: ‘We can’t do anything about it, it is out of our hands.

‘We can’t cancel the wedding and our plans should still go ahead.

‘You can’t put your life on hold. We’re lucky we can both work from home so it’s worthwhile to get married even if we have to quarantine when we get back. ‘ 

Where will be added to the quarantine list next? France vows to retaliate against British travellers as No 10 considers fresh travel restrictions on countries that have 20 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people 

France has vowed to retaliate after it was added to Britain’s quarantine list last night following a surge in coronavirus cases – with more countries set to be added if they cross the threshold of 20 cases per 100,000 people in a week. 

Emmanuel Macron‘s transport minister said France ‘regrets the UK’s decision’ and ‘will apply reciprocal measures’ after people crossing the Channel into Britain were ordered to isolate for 14 days. 

Ministers shut down the ‘travel corridor’ after France suffered a a spike of nearly 14,000 cases in the space of a week including 2,669 new infections announced last night. 

The spike means France has suffered 21.0 cases per 100,000 people in a week, above the threshold of 20 identified by Grant Shapps as the key to Britain’s quarantine rules. 

The Netherlands (24.5 cases per 100,000) and Malta (56.2) have also been hit with Foreign Office travel warnings after crossing the threshold, joining Spain (58.8) and Belgium (29.4) on the quarantine list. 

Switzerland (14.3), Denmark (15.3) and Greece (11.6) are also hovering close to the cut-off point while Portugal (13.5) is still under quarantine rules despite being below the limit. 

Germany (8.6 cases per 100,000) and Italy (5.0) are both below the threshold at the moment but both have seen an alarming uptick in cases in recent weeks which have partly been linked to summer holidays.  

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One British couple drove for nine hours through the night to avoid quarantine.

They had been enjoying a week in their motor home in the Dordogne when the news broke on Thursday night – so they quickly forked out £238 on a ferry from Calais to Dover and hit the road.

The husband and wife, who asked not to be named, left at midnight.

They had been due to come home on Sunday – and they blasted Prime Minister Boris Johnson after arriving in Kent at midday.

The 55-year-old woman, a doctors surgery admin worker from Norfolk, said: ‘We had to do it to avoid quarantine. We just picked up all our stuff, chucked it in the motor home and drove.

‘We’re gutted because we were loving our break over there, but I just couldn’t afford to have to go into quarantine. It wouldn’t be ideal at all.

‘I understand why Boris has done this, but to give us a deadline of 4am on Saturday is nowhere near enough notice.

‘He has to bear in mind that a lot of the people who got the news late last night wouldn’t have been able to just get up and leave like us.

‘Some would’ve been families with young kids who were asleep. Then it’s a real rush to get things ready the next day.’

The mother-of-five added: ‘Boris and the Government really should have thought this through more.’

Marcus Keys, 49, had been on a week-long holiday in Limoges with his two children and wife.

They were due back today – and he was glad to get home.

Housing association development worker Marcus, from Birmingham, said: ‘It’s definitely a relief to avoid the quarantine – we didn’t want to get caught up in that.’    

IT manager Lewis Kitson, 37, told the Sun: ‘This is just a complete shambles. It’s chaos. They’re making it up as they go along now.

‘They can’t justify this. It’s guess work. I’m not bothered about quarantine if I’m too late. I’ve just come through France on a road trip. I’m trying to book to get home.

‘They’ll have to put me in prison before I comply with quarantine.

‘The whole thing is ridiculous. It’s still not enough time. I’m really trying to get a ferry booked. It’s a disgrace.’ 

Jamie Harrison and wife Bernie, both 43, were taking their three children JJ, nine, Luke, six, and Nelly, three, on a 10-day camping holiday to Nice, France.

The family from Catford, south east London had originally planned to go to Spain but switched to France after quarantine rules were introduced there.

Nutritional therapist Bernie said: ‘We kind of thought it was going to come after what happened with Spain. I was mentally prepared. It was short notice there so I expected it – it’s out of our control.

Passengers wearing face masks as a precaution against the spread of the novel coronavirus walk along the platform to an escalator after arriving on a Eurostar train from Paris at St Pancras International station in London

Passengers wearing face masks as a precaution against the spread of the novel coronavirus walk along the platform to an escalator after arriving on a Eurostar train from Paris at St Pancras International station in London

Air fares are more than six times higher than normal for flights from Paris to London today, with the cheapest British Airways tickets being sold for £452

Air fares are more than six times higher than normal for flights from Paris to London today, with the cheapest British Airways tickets being sold for £452

Air fares are more than six times higher than normal for flights from Paris to London today, with the cheapest British Airways tickets being sold for £452

Air fares are more than six times higher than normal for flights from Paris to London today, with the cheapest British Airways tickets being sold for £452

Which countries are above the threshold of 20 cases per 100,000 people in a week? 

SPAIN: 58.8

MALTA: 56.2

BELGIUM: 29.4

NETHERLANDS: 24.5

FRANCE: 21.0

SWEDEN: 18.7 (but quarantine is still in place) 

DENMARK: 15.3

SWITZERLAND: 14.3 

PORTUGAL: 13.5 (but quarantine is still in place) 

GREECE: 11.6 

IRELAND: 10.8

AUSTRIA: 10.3 

UK: 9.0

GERMANY: 8.6

ITALY: 5.0 

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‘And we made sure we had two weeks before the kids go back to school in case quarantine was brought in.

‘There’s not much difference between isolation and what we have been doing during lockdown anyway.

‘We’re well prepared about what we need to do to protect our immune system and protect ourselves from viruses and pathogens.

‘It’s up to every individual to protect their immunity and not rely on the government and the NHS.’

Husband Jamie, who works in property, said: ‘Of course I didn’t really want it to happen but I could see it coming. We’re still going to enjoy ourselves and have a great trip.

‘There’s never going to be a good time to introduce quarantine and if it’s got to be done then so be it. But I don’t understand why they’ve picked Saturday to implement it.

‘I feel like if you test negative then you should be allowed to finish self isolating. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.’

Eldest son JJ added: ‘I think quarantine is bad and that’s why I wanted to stay at home instead of going on holiday. It means I can’t play with my friends for two weeks.’  

Families travelling to France and Amsterdam from London via Eurostar told of last minute changes to their trips after new quarantine restrictions were announced late last night. 

Robert Lawrence, 65, from Islington north London, was also catching the 11am Eurostar today on an interrail to visit friends in the Netherlands and Germany.

The retired broadcast worker said: ‘Obviously it is a risk but I have probably taken more of a risk going around the supermarket than I am doing this.

‘If you are bending down to the shelves in busy shops, it is probably more of a risk than this trip with socially distanced walks and alfresco meals.  

People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport, today at Nice airport, southern France

People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport, today at Nice airport, southern France

People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport, today at Nice airport, southern France

People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport, today at Nice airport, southern France

People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport, today at Nice airport, southern France

People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport, today at Nice airport, southern France

People wait at Dover to cross the Channel to France as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said there "has to be a cut-off" in regards to a time period for those being mandated to self-isolate on their return to the UK from abroad

People wait at Dover to cross the Channel to France as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said there "has to be a cut-off" in regards to a time period for those being mandated to self-isolate on their return to the UK from abroad

People wait at Dover to cross the Channel to France as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said there ‘has to be a cut-off’ in regards to a time period for those being mandated to self-isolate on their return to the UK from abroad

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted the Government had taken 'a practical approach' to the new restrictions. However, the move was criticised by France's secretary of state for European affairs

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted the Government had taken 'a practical approach' to the new restrictions. However, the move was criticised by France's secretary of state for European affairs

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted the Government had taken ‘a practical approach’ to the new restrictions. However, the move was criticised by France’s secretary of state for European affairs

Brighton couple due to fly to Tunisia before African country was added to UK list tell how they missed France quarantine with hours to spare 

Andrew Farr, 58, returned from his week-long holiday in Nice, France to Gatwick at 10.40am today  through EasyJet with partner Mourad Besbes, 56.

The couple from Brighton, East Sussex had booked several flights home as they were initially planning on going to Tunisia before that corridor was slammed shut.

Andrew, who works in PR for a tour operator, said: ‘We saw that quarantine was coming in on the 10pm news on Thursday night so we are counting ourselves very lucky that we had this flight booked before we went out.

‘A lot of people are going to be stuck there unable to get back before self isolation is implemented on Saturday morning but at least they’ve given us some notice this time.

’48 hours notice would have been nice as I reckon the government have been looking at this for the past week.

‘But they’re looking at the rates throughout Europe and seen that France has risen too high so it had to be done.’

Self employed caterer Mourad added: ‘I thought there was going to be a mad rush to get seats on these final flights home but ours was only about 80 per cent full which was surprising.

‘It took us 25 minutes to fill in this form on arrival with our details which is madness.

‘But we are really lucky that is all and we can go back to our normal lives instead of quarantining.’

Meanwhile DFDS Ferries which operates from Dover to French ports including Dunkirk and Calais and from Newhaven in East Sussex to Dieppe tweeted: ‘FRANCE-DOVER SERVICES: We are expecting a high volume of traffic at our French Ports today. We advise all customers to have a confirmed reservation before arriving at the Port by visiting our website at https://fal.cn/39J8d

‘Please do not arrive without a confirmed booking.’

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‘My main concern was travel insurance and health cover.

‘My policy said it does not cover travel if the Foreign Commonwealth Office our restrictions in place before I took out the policy or before I booked it.

‘But I had booked it all already so it seems I am still covered and I will just quarantine when I’m back.

‘The initial destination is Amsterdam via Eurostar then onto The Hague and the Cologne via train to visit friends. Then I’ll return home by air.

‘I wasn’t planning to travel until next year but my friends invited me.

‘I don’t regret it because we were aware restrictions might change. It was just an informed risk and we decided to go ahead because the new restrictions were only announced last night so it was very very short notice for us.

‘Everything had already been booked and we knew about the advice so we are relatively happy.

‘I can quarantine when I return and I have a local supermarket that deliver food and a friend who has offered to drop things to me if needed.’

Eurostar passengers arriving in London from Paris today fear they may have to quarantine on their return to France if Emmanuel Macron introduces ‘tit for tat’ travel restrictions. 

British expat Stephen Fillery, 72, returned to his home of 15 years in Dordogne, France today.

He flew out to Bordeaux at 1.30pm with EasyJet after renovating his flat by the River Thames in Staines, Surrey for his next tenant. 

The retired Metropolitan Police officer of 30 years said: ‘I’m really pleased that this overnight news about isolation from the France and the Netherlands came when it did. 

‘If it came earlier, I would have had to spend two weeks staying in the flat and couldn’t have renovated it and done all the running around.

‘If they had imposed quarantine a week ago I would not have come over so I’m relieved for my own personal benefit.

‘I think it is probably highly necessary to bring in this self isolation. If the statistics have suddenly gone up then they need to make a firm and quick decision and a lot of people must have been expecting it.

‘If France are going to bring in a reciprocal measure then it should be for medical scientific reasons and not just political push back at the UK.’

One man flying to Nice, France to see his brother for 10 days said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ at the government’s ‘short notice’ to implement quarantine.

The 40-year-old electrician from Surrey, who did not want to give his name, said: ‘I was gutted to see them bring it in just hours before I flew out.

‘If I knew a week beforehand then I would have cancelled. They should have given more warning.

‘But if rates are increasing then it is reasonable for them to bring it in to stop people bringing it back here.

‘I was prepared for it and thought it might come in while I’m out there but I thought I would have had more time to make a decision.

‘I’m a social guy who likes to go out to see my friends and play football but I will now have to stay indoors for two weeks.

‘It is what it is. I will find other ways to occupy myself, rest up, so some work at home and watch Netflix.’ 

Relatives wearing face masks eagerly waited for their loved ones to arrive from France in the arrivals hall at London St Pancras station. 

Vehicles are driven off of a ferry at Dover after arriving from France as travellers trying to return from France on Friday to avoid the quarantine restrictions face a scramble for tickets costing hundreds of pounds

Vehicles are driven off of a ferry at Dover after arriving from France as travellers trying to return from France on Friday to avoid the quarantine restrictions face a scramble for tickets costing hundreds of pounds

Vehicles are driven off of a ferry at Dover after arriving from France as travellers trying to return from France on Friday to avoid the quarantine restrictions face a scramble for tickets costing hundreds of pounds

Holiday makers arriving back on a ferry at Dover docks this morning after France was added to the UK quarantine list from Saturday

Holiday makers arriving back on a ferry at Dover docks this morning after France was added to the UK quarantine list from Saturday

Holiday makers arriving back on a ferry at Dover docks this morning after France was added to the UK quarantine list from Saturday

Retired teacher Judith Hobbs, 71, flung her arms around her son and grandchildren when they arrived on one of the last Eurostar’s from Paris before the new quarantine rules are implemented at 4am on Saturday.

The grandmother, from Oxfordshire, said: ‘I am waiting to meet my son and my two grandchildren. They live just outside of Paris.

‘We are really lucky as they were always booked onto this train arriving at 12.30pm today so we have avoided the quarantine.

‘But we are still taking a bit of a risk as we do not know what restrictions will be in place in France when they return home in a few weeks.

‘Emmanuel Macron has suggested the same measures could be implemented there, like a tit for tat.

‘So in that case, when we drive them home we might have to quarantine in France and then quarantine again when we return to the UK.’    

Mother-of-two Leanne Smith and her husband Paul, both 39, paid £3,000 on a Eurocamp holiday at a site near Paris. They were due to start the week-long trip with their young children today – but decided to drive back to Manchester after the quarantine was announced.

Leanne told the Sun: ‘We were in bed in our hotel last night just waiting for the news to break. We knew it was going to be announced but we didn’t want to risk losing all our money. That would’ve just been a nightmare.’

Car-carrying Channel Tunnel trains are fully booked until Saturday.

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle said in a statement: ‘Due to the recent Government announcement, our shuttles are now fully booked until tomorrow morning.

‘There is no more ticket availability and we are not selling tickets at check-in.

‘Please do not arrive at the terminal unless you have a ticket valid for travel today.’

Private jet charter company PrivateFly said demand for flights out of countries being removed from the UK’s quarantine-exemption list has trebled since the announcement was made on Thursday night. 

Chief executive Adam Twidell said: ‘Following the changes to the UK’s quarantine list overnight, we’ve received a surge in demand for private jet travel out of affected countries, with three times the average number of enquiries and bookings for flights to the UK from France, the Netherlands and Malta, before 4am on Saturday morning.

‘We’ve also had a number of inquiries from clients booked to travel to these destinations in the coming weeks to change their travel plans in order to avoid quarantine zones. 

People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport, today at Nice airport, southern France

People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport, today at Nice airport, southern France

People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport, today at Nice airport, southern France

People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport, today at Nice airport, southern France

People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport, today at Nice airport, southern France

People queue in line to check-in for a British Airways flight to Heathrow airport, today at Nice airport, southern France

‘We can arrange flights at very short notice with the flexibility to change route at the last minute, however availability is limited as the spike in demand coincides with what is already the peak summer season for private leisure travel.’ 

‘Here’s hoping there are no delays’: British family tells MailOnline how they plan on getting to UK

Natalie Mills wrote to MailOnline: ‘We are a family currently in the Cote d’Azur. 

‘Our scheduled flight is at 10pm tonight – we are desperately hoping there are no delays!

‘We decided to come away as we’ve stayed in a fairly remote villa and so we felt pretty safe. We would not have travelled if we had booked a hotel.

‘My father in law is 86 and my father 71, so we’ve not done anything touristy really – just enjoyed the villa, and staring at a different four walls has been a treat in itself!

‘It will be hugely frustrating if we miss the deadline as we’ve made a point of staying safe.’

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Explaining the quarantine decision on BBC Breakfast this morning, Mr Shapps said: ‘The reality is that in all of the things to do with coronavirus, there always has had to be a cut-off and we’ve seen this throughout, haven’t we, in the way that rules have had to be implemented and, so, ‘if we can do this, why can’t we do that?’, that’s always going to be the case. 

‘What we have to do is provide clear guidance and, in this case, clear law in order to require people to quarantine.   

‘I just want to stress it is very important that people do quarantine. Everybody returning to the UK, no matter where from, doesn’t matter whether you’re in a travel corridor country or a quarantine country, must at this stage fill in a passenger locator form.

‘That is the law and you may well find that people call up to check where you are, and you’ll be breaking the law if you were not quarantining, if that was a requirement for the country you’d come from.’

Mr Shapps said it will not be necessary for people to quarantine on their return to the UK from France if they do so before Saturday at 4am.

The Transport Secretary told BBC Breakfast an estimated 160,000 holidaymakers are expected to look to return to the UK from France.

He added: ‘It’s a practical approach as well which has enabled all fours parts of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England – to implement the same time at 4am where there are no flights in the air at least tomorrow.

‘But, look, I accept your point, you can always argue one way or the other. We have to make a decision on it and we have to do that based on science and medicine, and that’s what we’ve done, we’ve taken the advice and implemented on that basis.’

Asked if he would encourage those returning to the UK if they should self-isolate, even if they fall outside of the official quarantine deadline, Mr Shapps said: ‘That’s not legally required. 

Ferries are seen in the Port of Dover, as Britain imposes a 14-day quarantine on arrival from France from Saturday

Ferries are seen in the Port of Dover, as Britain imposes a 14-day quarantine on arrival from France from Saturday

Ferries are seen in the Port of Dover, as Britain imposes a 14-day quarantine on arrival from France from Saturday

Ferries are seen in the Port of Dover, as Britain imposes a 14-day quarantine on arrival from France from Saturday

Ferries are seen in the Port of Dover, as Britain imposes a 14-day quarantine on arrival from France from Saturday

Ferries are seen in the Port of Dover, as Britain imposes a 14-day quarantine on arrival from France from Saturday

The quarantine is set to come in at 4am tomorrow – and with an estimated British 500,000 holidaymakers in France, a weekend of chaos looms as they try to get home

The quarantine is set to come in at 4am tomorrow – and with an estimated British 500,000 holidaymakers in France, a weekend of chaos looms as they try to get home

The quarantine is set to come in at 4am tomorrow – and with an estimated British 500,000 holidaymakers in France, a weekend of chaos looms as they try to get home

‘But what I would say to everybody is look out for the signs, everyone knows what we’re talking about – the persistent cough, the high temperature, the change in taste or smell, so everyone should look out for those signs.

‘But, no, it’s not necessary to quarantine unless you’re coming back after 4am on Saturday and those are the rules.

‘I think the truth of this is, as everyone watching realises, there’s no perfect way to deal with coronavirus.

‘Unless you were going to have a sliding scale that sort of said if you stay another 24 hours the you must quarantine for X amount of time, another 36 hours for Y amount of time, you know, clearly there has to be a cut-off somewhere.’

Mr Shapps added: ‘To be clear, the Joint Biosecurity centre have cleared our approach to this.’

The boss of Channel Tunnel operator has Getlink warned many travellers may not be able to get back to the UK – and told them not to turn up at terminals without a booking as trains are ‘already pretty much fully booked’. 

After a week of speculation ministers acted on a worsening coronavirus situation across the Channel, ministers ordered travellers returning from the popular destination to isolate for 14 days. The move came after Boris Johnson said the UK would be ‘ruthless’ when it came to travel quarantine even with its ‘closest and dearest friends’. 

Mr Keefe said there was ‘some possibility of adding additional trains in the off-peak periods’ but would-be travellers must check online before heading to the terminal.

‘The important thing is that people understand that it’s not going to be easy to get back and they have to be sensible about this and not get themselves into difficulties,’ he said.  

France recorded 2,669 new cases of coronavirus yesterday, up from 2,524 on Wednesday. It is a record figure for the nation since it came out of lockdown.  

The review of the rules saw the Netherlands, Monaco and Malta added to the quarantine list – and Portugal remains on it, along with Spain.

The Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba in the Caribbean have also lost their places.

 ‘We have got to be absolutely ruthless about this, even with our closest and dearest friends and partners. I think everybody understands that,’ Mr Johnson told reporters as he visited Northern Ireland yesterday. 

John Keefe, Getlink’s director of public affairs, told BBC’s Newsnight: ‘We just haven’t got the space to take everybody who might suddenly want to come up to the coast. So what we are saying to people is amend your booking online, make sure there’s space before you travel to the terminal.’ 

Visitors wearing protective face masks queue to enter the Louvre Pyramid in Paris yesterday, hours before the quarantine announcement

Visitors wearing protective face masks queue to enter the Louvre Pyramid in Paris yesterday, hours before the quarantine announcement

Visitors wearing protective face masks queue to enter the Louvre Pyramid in Paris yesterday, hours before the quarantine announcement

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Passengers returning from France scrambled to book earlier Eurostar trains, forking out hundreds of pounds extra and cutting their holidays short to avoid having to quarantine under new UK travel rules.

Carriages arriving at London St Pancras today were packed, with passengers unable to socially distance as most chairs were taken in the rush to return home.

Panicked Brits filled the platform at London St Pancras station this morning, wearing face masks and pulling their suitcases through the crowds in the mad rush to get home.

Vikesh Patel, 27, paid over the odds to change his Eurostar ticket to return home today after only arriving in Paris last night to visit his girlfriend.

The interdealer broker, from Essex, was devastated when he received a call from his boss advising him to return home to escape quarantine rules.

He said: ‘I arrived in Paris at 6pm last night to see my girlfriend who lives there. I was meant to come home on Monday.

‘It is the absolute worst thing that could have happened. I am not going to see her now for so long.

‘I could have not gone, but getting there at 6pm and then being told to come home by 4am Saturday is awful.

‘The train was so overbooked and people were trying to space themselves out.

‘I’ve taken the Eurostar a few times and at the moment you are not meant to sit next to another person.

‘But I think people were sitting in each other’s seats. I sat next to someone, but I had no choice and others stood for the whole two hours.

‘I heard the news at 10.30pm last night and tried to ignore it, but I got a text from my boss saying you’d better come home.

‘I woke up at 7.30am and there was only one train left for today. I paid an extra £110 on top of my original tickets.

‘I also had to pay for a flight home just in case I got stuck there.

‘I’ve not been working from home this whole time so the quarantine would affect me.

‘I don’t know when we’ll next see each other, I guess we will have to find a country it is safe for both of us to go to.’

Teachers Dilip Chakraborti, 39, and Camille Brignolle, 41, from north London, also changed their tickets at the last minute to avoid being in quarantine when schools reopen.

The pair only had 24 hours in Paris where they arrived yesterday to visit Camille’s family, and were angered to discover through Twitter of the imminent new travel restrictions.

Camille, a secondary school teacher, said: ‘We were due back on Tuesday and we only arrived yesterday, so we spent literally 24 hours in Paris.

‘We went to visit my dad. He lives just outside of Paris and I haven’t seen him since Christmas.

‘It was tricky trying to change our ticket to avoid the quarantine. Initially a ticket popped up this afternoon but it went away.

‘It was supposed to be an exchange, but we had to pay an extra £224 on top of our original tickets between the two of us.

‘Having just 24 hours with my dad is not great.

‘I am annoyed at the fact the announcement was at 11pm of an evening on Twitter.

‘I am not impressed with the government with the way they have dealt with it and the manner of it.

‘Why not tell us during the day? Why tell us at 11pm on Twitter.’

She added: ‘Because I am a teacher, I wanted to make sure I would not have any problems so we waited for a few weeks before booking to wait and see what was going on with the restrictions.’

Dilip, a primary school teacher, said: ‘We rebooked and got an earlier train today.

‘So we will have to wait and see if we can get any money back.

‘If we had stayed, it would have been touch and go for me having to quarantine before the schools open at the beginning of September.

‘But Camille’s school opens a week early so we have to come back.’ 

Nicola Sturgeon ‘stopped holidaymakers from getting an extra 24 HOURS to get back from France’: Scottish First Minister ‘insisted the cut-off should be 4am TOMORROW instead of Sunday’ sparking desperate stampede of Britons to get home 

British holidaymakers voiced fury at the timing of the France quarantine move today amid claims Nicola Sturgeon demanded the cut-off was brought forward.

The new rules on isolating for 14 days will take effect for anyone who arrives in the UK from 4am tomorrow, sparking a desperate stamped to get home by thousands of British holidaymakers.

But sources said the Scottish government insisted that the deadline was earlier after UK ministers initially mooted 4am on Sunday.

Mr Shapps fuelled the chaos last night when he announced the dramatic step, but suggested it would only apply to people who ‘come back from Sunday’.

The Department for Transport then clarified that in fact the restrictions come into force from 4am tomorrow.

The news also broke hours later than expected, and following signals during the day that France might escape being struck off the list of ‘safe’ countries.

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‘We will be looking at the data a bit later on this afternoon – looking exactly where France and other countries are getting to.

‘We can’t be remotely complacent about our own situation. 

‘Everybody understands that in a pandemic you don’t allow our population to be reinfected or the disease to come back in.

‘That is why the quarantine measures are very important and we have to apply them in very sftrict way.’

Speculation has been mounting about quarantine exemptions being scrapped as infections rise across much of Europe. 

Hundreds of thousands of Britons are either on holiday in France or planning to go there, but yesterday it recorded more than 2,500 cases – a record since lockdown was eased.

The country appears to be perilously close to the yardstick of 20 cases per 100,000 population in a seven-day period. 

But ministers are believed to be prepared to hold off on restrictions when changes are announced, with the situation kept under close observation. 

The quarantine list already includes Spain and Portugal. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not believed to have signed off on the adjustments yet. 

Travellers are expected to be given around 30 hours notice of any changes coming into force, so they can make new arrangements if required.  

The Netherlands (23.1 per 100,000), Gibraltar (35.6), Monaco (38.2), Malta (46.7), San Marino (53.0), the Faroe Islands (198.5), Turks and Caicos (278.9) and Aruba (547.9) all have higher rates of new cases per 100,000 than France.

Those on the list with a slightly lower rate than France are Denmark (15.3 per 100,000), Iceland (14.7), the Czech Republic (14.0), Switzerland (13.3) and Poland (12.7). 

All the above have now overtaken Portugal’s rate of 12.4 new cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, but despite this, Portugal remains on the list of countries from which all arrivals to the UK, including those returning from holiday, must quarantine for two weeks.

Downing Street reminded potential holidaymakers this week that ‘there is no risk free way of travelling overseas’ with Boris Johnson adding that he ‘would not hesitate’ to bring in travel restrictions for other countries. 

The latest data on coronavirus cases on foreign soil is being analysed by the Government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre (JCB), which reports to Health Secretary Matt Hancock. 

Britons in France and other countries could be forced to make a dash home or risk being forced to quarantine on their return to the UK, should the government decide to remove more countries from the list.    

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UK Ministers are believed to be planning new measures for a swathe of countries amid a surge in European coronavirus cases

UK Ministers are believed to be planning new measures for a swathe of countries amid a surge in European coronavirus cases

UK Ministers are believed to be planning new measures for a swathe of countries amid a surge in European coronavirus cases

Woman tells how their French holiday is cut short so her children can get back to school 

Emmeline Owens, 45, from Battersea, was staying in Antibes in the south of France with her husband and two children, eight and 11 years old.

She said that quarantining was ‘not really’ an option for them as they wanted their children to be able to return to school shortly.

‘They haven’t had much of an education in the last six months,’ she told the PA news agency. ‘If we can get in today they will be able to return to school when they’re due to go back in a couple of weeks, so, yes, it (quarantine) wasn’t much of an option.’ 

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On Tuesday, the UK updated its travel ‘green list’, but did not take Portugal off the quarantine list, in a blow to the country’s economy that benefits greatly from tourism from the UK.

The UK Government was warned that cases in Portugal had not fallen fast enough to be able to safely add the country to the ‘green list’.  

On Monday, France reported the first significant rise in the number of coronavirus patients in hospital since the lockdown was lifted, although it fell again on Tuesday before rising two days on the bounce. 

Earlier this week France‘s prime minister told his citizens to ‘pull themselves together’ amid a fresh surge in coronavirus cases. 

Jean Castex said the public was becoming careless and raised the spectre of a second lockdown after a rise of more than 10,000 cases in the last week. 

‘If we don’t act collectively, we expose ourselves to the heightened risk that the rebound in the epidemic becomes hard to control,’ Castex said on a visit to an intensive care ward in the South of France. 

Some parts of France have tightened their mask rules despite the summer heatwave, with police now set to ramp up checks on face coverings – while neighbouring Belgium yesterday made masks compulsory in all public spaces including outdoors.

France's prime minister Jean Castex (pictured at a hospital in Montpellier this week) has told his citizens to 'pull themselves together' amid a fresh surge in coronavirus cases in France

France's prime minister Jean Castex (pictured at a hospital in Montpellier this week) has told his citizens to 'pull themselves together' amid a fresh surge in coronavirus cases in France

France’s prime minister Jean Castex (pictured at a hospital in Montpellier this week) has told his citizens to ‘pull themselves together’ amid a fresh surge in coronavirus cases in France

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Coronavirus screening results take up to 15 days to come back for care homes

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coronavirus screening results take up to 15 days to come back for care homes

Care homes are having to wait up to 15 days for Covid test results, the Daily Mail can reveal.

Managers say the system is so ‘shambolic’ they fear further fatal outbreaks.

With Health Secretary Matt Hancock warning that a virus ‘tipping point’ is approaching, the care bosses demanded a much quicker turnaround.

The Mail spoke to 19 providers which together run 393 homes. Staff or residents tested positive at a third of the chains over the past fortnight and in most cases results came late.

Nine said they had to throw away tests after couriers did not turn up on time. One had to ditch 250 swabs in a week.

Care homes are having to wait up to 15 days for Covid test results, with bosses fearing fatal outbreaks. Above, workers at Ashwood Court residential care home in Lowton, Warrington

Care homes are having to wait up to 15 days for Covid test results, with bosses fearing fatal outbreaks. Above, workers at Ashwood Court residential care home in Lowton, Warrington

Care homes are having to wait up to 15 days for Covid test results, with bosses fearing fatal outbreaks. Above, workers at Ashwood Court residential care home in Lowton, Warrington

Homes need quick results if they are to halt an outbreak.

Several providers had to wait as long as 15 days and in some cases heard nothing back from laboratories. Results should be processed within 24 hours but the supposedly ‘world- beating’ system has been overwhelmed.

In other developments:

  • Downing Street warned that Britain was ‘in the last-chance saloon’ with fresh restrictions coming in days if existing rules are not followed;
  • Chief medical officer Chris Whitty is to give a televised address declaring the UK is ‘heading in the wrong direction’;
  • Overcrowded pubs and restaurants will be shut down on the spot, with police encouraged to carry out checks;
  • Mr Hancock suggested that millions of Londoners could be told to work from home this week in a toughening up of restrictions in the capital;
  • Experts warned that lockdown-style restrictions that discourage eating out and returning to the office would cost the economy up to £250million a day;
  • A further 3,899 cases were confirmed in the UK yesterday, taking the seven-day average to a four-month high

Nadra Ahmed, who is executive chairman of the National Care Association, said the testing chaos was ‘one of the Government’s greatest failings’.

She added: ‘I can’t believe they didn’t envisage that there would be an increase in demand for tests and results in a timely manner as lockdown was eased.

‘We can’t deal with a postcode lottery at this critical time. As it stands, it is utterly chaotic, shambolic and a disgrace.’

Care home boss Mark Ellison, who owns Temple Grove care home in East Sussex with his wife Joanne (both above), said another 57 carefully administered swabs had to be thrown away

Care home boss Mark Ellison, who owns Temple Grove care home in East Sussex with his wife Joanne (both above), said another 57 carefully administered swabs had to be thrown away

Care home boss Mark Ellison, who owns Temple Grove care home in East Sussex with his wife Joanne (both above), said another 57 carefully administered swabs had to be thrown away

Liz Kendall, Labour’s health spokesman, said: ‘Ministers need to take urgent action to guarantee weekly testing with swift results to ensure care homes are properly prepared and keep all elderly and disabled people safe.’

It is three months since Mr Hancock promised ‘every care home’ in England would receive regular testing for the virus. 

Home with one in four batches going to waste 

A care home boss has hit out at the Government’s ‘inadequate’ testing system which has seen one in four batches of tests go to waste because couriers have not turned up.

Mark Ellison, 46, owner of Temple Grove care home in East Sussex, said his manager was almost in tears this week after another 57 carefully administered swabs had to be thrown away. 

He said he had expected ‘teething problems’ but it is ‘unacceptable’ that at least 25 per cent of the time the couriers do not turn up to collect the home’s samples.

When tests are collected, the results are often delayed with some coming back weeks later.

Mr Ellison, who owns the home with his wife Joanne, said: ‘At the moment our staff are agreeing to be swabbed, but we can’t force them to and I worry if this continues to be such a shambles they will be less inclined.’ 

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Weekly for staff and every 28 days for residents, this allows managers to catch asymptomatic infections and stop the virus from spreading. But the scramble for swabs has led to lengthy delays.

Around 19,000 care home residents have died since the pandemic began – at its the height Covid-19 was killing 400 a day.

A Department of Health report circulated last week warned that the virus is now spreading through care homes again, with cases quadrupling since the start of the month.

Testing tsar Baroness Harding says that demand for tests is three or four times higher than the daily capacity of around 240,000.

Judith Stockton, manager of Woodlands Care Centre in Macclesfield, Cheshire, said: ‘Even two days is too long. If there was a positive, in two days’ time the whole home would be infected if we weren’t isolating. I’m very scared. The answer back in April was testing. The answer is we need tests back and we need them quicker. It’s the only hope we’ve got.’

Boris Johnson last week announced measures to ‘toughen up rules’ surrounding staff movements in care homes. Ministers are also agonising over whether to impose restrictions on family visits.

Care homes have begun locking down to visitors in coronavirus hotspots or in homes where a member of staff or resident has tested positive. Britain’s biggest care chain, HC-One, is restricting visitors in 99 homes because of local lockdowns or high community infection rates.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘Every day we make sure care homes across the country receive 100,000 test kits with the vast majority reporting no problems. 

‘We are providing every care home with free PPE until the end of March, ring-fencing £1.1billion to prevent infections and making a further £3.7billion available to councils to address pressures caused by the pandemic.’

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You CAN find two extra hours a day to devote to yourself…thanks to ingenious time-saving technique

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you can find two extra hours a day to devote to yourself thanks to ingenious time saving technique

When my first marriage ended, my two boys were four and 18 months old and the challenges felt huge. Suddenly, I had to sell a house, rent a new one and work out how to cope financially on my own.

At first, I struggled — I remember phoning the solicitor and crying down the line because I couldn’t get the word ‘divorce’ out. I didn’t eat properly for months.

But I was still a mum, so I couldn’t totally sink. I had to take Tom to the park and get him ready to start primary school. I had to change Jonny’s nappy and make sure they were both happy, well-fed and loved. And I had to find time for me, too.

That was when I decided I needed a plan of action, a way to organise my life that would stop me feeling permanently frazzled and help me fulfil my ambitions. Today, I call it The Organised Time Technique (TOTT).

For women who feel their time is overstretched Gemma Bray provides five easy 'time bootcamp' steps to follow (stock)

For women who feel their time is overstretched Gemma Bray provides five easy 'time bootcamp' steps to follow (stock)

For women who feel their time is overstretched Gemma Bray provides five easy ‘time bootcamp’ steps to follow (stock)

Some of you will already know me from my first book, The Organised Mum Method, which I devised to help me manage the housework. That built me an online following of more than 200,000 on Instagram and social media.

But TOTT is bigger. It’s a master plan, a way of keeping the whole show on the road for all women, not just mothers.

Today, I am happily remarried, a mum to three boys — Ben arrived five years ago — and a stepmum, too. And TOTT is how I manage all the calls on my time while keeping enough of it aside for me. My time plan is an antidote to the craziness of modern women’s lives.

THE RULES:

Ignore the ‘time cuckoos’ that try to steal your new nest-eggs of time. They will see you doing nice things and try to use up your time to lighten their own load.

For example, your other half spots you reading and, because you’re ‘not doing anything’, asks you to help with the washing up (even though you cooked dinner). ‘Oh, come on,’ they say. ‘It’ll only take ten minutes.’ But they are not entitled to your time!

Ditch the guilt. When you start to add in chunks of relaxation time it may feel, at first, as if you are rebelling. One reason for this is that you’re planning your levelthree time on a regular basis now, not just once in a blue moon.

But all you’re doing is breaking the habit of self-neglect. 

Just do it. It may well be that your five spare units a day don’t come in a neatly packaged single chunk of time — but all those bits and pieces add up. 

Spend 30 minutes a day doing marketing calls for your new business, or de-cluttering the garage, or learning the guitar — and by Christmas you’ll have put in 45 hours, enough to really get to grips with something new.

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Too many of us, in thrall to the never-ending to-do list, feel ground down by responsibilities — taking care of our family, running a household, succeeding in our career — all of which is made harder by the pandemic. What we need is a framework for life that takes the stress out of all that plate-spinning.

TOTT will give you the tools and the headspace you need.

After you have followed my ‘time bootcamp’, you will always know where you are supposed to be, what you are supposed to be doing and when.

Most importantly, you will carve out time to start fulfilling those dreams you put on hold when adult life got in the way.

So let’s get to it! Simply follow this step-by-step guide…

1. TIME BOOT CAMP

Over the next week, I want you to write down everything you spend your time on.

That means how much sleep you’re getting, how long it takes you to shower, to get to the office, to take the kids to after-school club, to do the laundry, right down to how long you spend scrolling on your phone.

Be honest and accurate. And track your emotions, as well — this will be crucial information later on. If you feel stressed because you’re late for work or didn’t have time to cook dinner from scratch, note it down.

2. THE CULL

In this step, I want you to start thinking of your day, not in terms of minutes and hours but as a series of half-hour units — so 48 units in each day.

Now take a good look at your boot camp notes and, next to each entry, write down the number of units it takes.

So, sleeping might be 15 units, looking at social media two units, and so on. By creating a clear list, you can start to cull or change anything that looks wasteful.

Gemma tells women struggling for time to 'be ruthless' and put themselves first over 'unit-sapping' tasks (stock)

Gemma tells women struggling for time to 'be ruthless' and put themselves first over 'unit-sapping' tasks (stock)

Gemma tells women struggling for time to ‘be ruthless’ and put themselves first over ‘unit-sapping’ tasks (stock)

Say you spent two units going to the shops every day after work. By doing a weekly online shop instead, you’re saving 14 units a week or 728 units a year, which is an annual time saving of 364 hours. Fifteen days a year wasted on ‘popping to the shop’!

TAKE OUR EXPERT QUIZ AND DISCOVER YOUR TIME TYPE: 

1. At the end of the day you climb into bed feeling:

A. A failure for not getting through your to-do list.

B. Optimistic — tomorrow will be a better day, thanks to the detailed plans you’ve made.

C. Puzzled. You have no idea where the day went.

2. You’re asked to help with the parent–teacher association (PTA) at your teenager’s school. Do you:

A. Say yes and offer to chair it. You’ll make the time.

B. Say yes and start to plan an amazing Christmas Fair, with rides as well as a celebrity Santa.

C. Panic! You’re never quite sure what’s happening in your own house, let alone school.

3. WHEN it comes to work, you live for:

A. A promotion. They must notice the hours you put in.

B. Strategy meetings. You love a coloured mind map.

C. Lunchtime, as you never have time for breakfast.

4. You love a weekend lie-in. How often do you get one?

A. Never. You’re up at dawn to make pancakes and smoothies for the children.

B. Rarely, but it would be nice.

C. Regularly — and, ahem, quite often during the week, too.

5. You’ve made time for a weekend lunch with friends. Do you spend the morning:

A. Doing housework, rushing to the shops for your self-isolating neighbour and checking your work emails.

B. Planning a new outfit but, at the last minute, slinging on your old tea dress anyway.

C. Failing to get the children off to football training. Again.

6You’ve decided you need to go on a diet. Do you:

A. Vow to cook low-fat vegan meals from scratch for all the family, even if it takes hours.

B. Browse through hundreds of online diets, eating crisps.

C. Realise at 9pm you’re out of veg so order a Deliveroo.

Mostly As: You’re an Overachiever.

You are competitive and would hate anyone to think you were lazy. You find it impossible to say no and pride yourself on being busy, yet find yourself overwhelmed at times. Be careful as you are at risk of burnout.

You need to slow down and value your health as highly as you value what other people think of you. Make time for lie-ins, baths and book-reading.

Mostly Bs : You’re a Dreamer.

You love to plan but rarely have time to actually do the things you’ve planned.

You’re fond of stationery and bullet journals, but never keep a new diary up for more than a fortnight. You love strategy meetings at work but rarely get down to the details. Take TOTT step-by-step. To achieve the things you dream of, keep your focus.

Mostly Cs: You’re a Spendthrift.

You tend to leave everything to the last minute, have little patience and find it hard to concentrate. You’re never sure where the kids’ clean school shirts are.

Taking control of your time will revolutionise your life and that of others around you. It’s so much easier than you think.

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For each unit-sapping task, ask yourself the question: What would happen if I didn’t do it?

If you didn’t visit your elderly mother twice a week (six units), for example, she would feel lonely. However, if you didn’t volunteer at a charity shop on a Tuesday afternoon (three units), you would cause a minor inconvenience until they found someone else. Cull the latter, not the former.

Be ruthless!

3. CHORE DUMP

On the social media channels I run, on the subjects of household management and cleaning, 98 per cent of my followers are female. I wish there were more men.

Why do women carry so much of the weight? No wonder resentment starts to creep in and affect other areas of the relationship.

Big hint: the average woman finds it hard to get into the sexy vibe when she has spent all evening tidying up and he is sitting on the sofa.

This is where the boot camp comes in handy — and even handier if he does the same exercise, as the evidence of what you both do around the house will be there in black and white.

When you talk to him about how your time is disappearing into housework and his isn’t, it will take away the ‘I think’ and ‘I feel’ part of the conversation. The facts will be there.

Or, if you’re really feeling underappreciated, you could do what one of my followers did and stick a Post-it note on every item relating to a household job you do in a day. ‘At the end of the day the house was full of Post-its!’ she told me. ‘There was one stuck on the TV saying, ‘I dusted this’. There was one next to the slow cooker, which had dinner in it, saying, ‘I cooked this’. There was one on the fridge saying, ‘I filled this with food’. And so on …’

Once you have the evidence, have the conversation and ask him to step up.

4. LEVEL UP

At last! This is where you start to find that precious me-time.

Take all the jobs you’ve identified in your notes and divide them into three levels.

Level-one jobs you need to do every day to keep yourself and your dependents healthy — bathing, eating, cooking for children, caring for an elderly relative, sleeping.

Level-two jobs are important but can wait if need be — doing your tax return, cleaning the house, doing laundry, going to work (because if you take a sick day, the world won’t stop).

And level-three jobs (cue chorus of angels) are those activities you want to do but never quite manage to fit in — having a long bath, taking up a hobby, reading a book, setting up a side-business, getting to Pilates, going to the spa.

Think of your level-one and level-two jobs as the legs of the swan working hard under the surface, while the level threes will make it appear that you are gliding effortlessly to hot yoga sessions three times a week.

5. BUILD YOUR DAY

Put in your level-one jobs first. They are the scaffolding that will hold up the rest of your TOTT plan and your life.

Don’t be shocked at how much time they take up, just move on to adding in your level twos. When that is done, we can work out how much time you have left for the longed-for level-three treats.

Here’s an example:

  • Sleep: 16 units (level one).
  • Work: 14 units (level two).
  • Housework: 1.5 units (level two).
  • Getting yourself and the kids ready in the morning (including breakfast): 2 units (level one).
  • School run and/or commute: 2 units (level two).
  • School pick-up and/or home commute: 2 units (level two).
  • Dinner prep and evening meal: 3 units (level one).
  • Bath/bedtime with kids: 2 units (level two). Total: 43.5 units.

This leaves you with 4.5 units for your level-three ‘me time’. That’s two hours 15 minutes — which is a fair bit, don’t you think?

Gemma tells how one follower of her strategy stuck post-it notes throughout the house, highlighting the chores she had done so that her partner could appreciate the time she spent

Gemma tells how one follower of her strategy stuck post-it notes throughout the house, highlighting the chores she had done so that her partner could appreciate the time she spent

Gemma tells how one follower of her strategy stuck post-it notes throughout the house, highlighting the chores she had done so that her partner could appreciate the time she spent

  • Adapted by ALISON ROBERTS from The Organised Time Technique, by Gemma Bray (£12.99, Little, Brown). © 2020 Gemma Bray. To order a copy for £11.04 go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Free UK delivery on orders over £15. Promotional price valid until 05/10/2020. 

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After years of bitterness, how have Ryan O’Neal and his daughter Tatum reconciled, asks TOM LEONARD

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after years of bitterness how have ryan oneal and his daughter tatum reconciled asks tom leonard

 Even though it was Farrah Fawcett’s funeral, her long-time boyfriend Ryan O’Neal was not so grief-stricken that he couldn’t notice a pretty face among the fellow mourners waiting to offer their condolences.

Grabbing the young blonde around the waist and pulling her towards him in an intimate embrace, the notorious Hollywood ladykiller whispered: ‘Hey baby, got a drink on you? Want to get out of here?’

She certainly didn’t, for it was his daughter, Tatum O’Neal.

Admittedly, by the time of Charlie’s Angels star Fawcett’s death in 2009, father and daughter had been estranged for nearly 25 years. But, as she wrote in her autobiography two years later, she was still taken aback. ‘Was it possible that my own father did not recognise me? It had been a pretty long time.’

Certainly it has been a long time since any family in the entertainment world has come close to challenging the O’Neals for the crown of Hollywood’s most troubled, dysfunctional clan. The usual metaphor of ‘car crash’ hardly does justice to a disaster-plagued dynasty where the carnage is more comparable to that caused by an atomic bomb.  

Tatum has claimed that alcoholism and drug addiction are in her DNA, and it’s certainly true that three generations of her family have been ravaged by a pitiful weakness for addictive substances, not to mention a self-absorbed but highly destructive hedonism.

Farrah Fawcett and her long-time boyfriend Ryan O'Neal

Farrah Fawcett and her long-time boyfriend Ryan O'Neal

Farrah Fawcett and her long-time boyfriend Ryan O’Neal

The precocious Tatum was ten years old when she became the youngest actor to win an Oscar, acting alongside her father in Paper Moon.

 By 40, she was a crack and heroin addict, laying most of the blame, in two memoirs and a string of interviews, on a man she claims was a brutal, neglectful and permanently stoned father who introduced his children to hard drugs before they were even in their teens. For his part, Ryan, who has acknowledged his chronic drug use, has called her a ‘devil’ and ‘b****’, while her children have condemned him as a ‘monster’ and a ‘vulture’.

Then, this week, Sean McEnroe, Tatum’s son by tennis star John McEnroe, posted online a family photo that looked so unlikely it could only have been a tasteless prank knocked up on Photoshop. It showed him, his mother, his siblings, Kevin and Emily, and his 79-year-old grandfather — all in the same room, all smiling and nobody with their hands around anyone else’s throat.

‘This is one of the most memorable photos in my life,’ Sean wrote in the caption. ‘The last time we were all together was at the 30-year Paper Moon Anniversary in 2003. I could cry tears of gratitude that everyone in this photo is still alive and that we were all able to come together again after so many years of hardship.’   

 Sean, who is also an actor, said later: ‘It really was an ‘anything is possible’ moment. It’s really rare to have a family have this much chaos and drama over such a long span, and I think that’s actually the thing most families can relate to. That really kind of fractured, scarred family that’s having a very hard time reconciling and forging a good relationship later in life.’

His sentiments are clearly heartfelt, and a reunion that looked nigh on impossible is certainly something to cheer. However, one has to wonder how many families really can relate to the tortured saga of Ryan and Tatum O’Neal.

‘My family is fractured,’ she once wrote. ‘A stew of drama, drugs, violence and tragedy.’ And the person on whom she heaped nearly all the blame was her father.

Hand in hand: (From left) Sean McEnroe with his 79-year-old grandfather Ryan, mother Tatum, 56, and siblings Emily and Kevin

Hand in hand: (From left) Sean McEnroe with his 79-year-old grandfather Ryan, mother Tatum, 56, and siblings Emily and Kevin

Hand in hand: (From left) Sean McEnroe with his 79-year-old grandfather Ryan, mother Tatum, 56, and siblings Emily and Kevin

 Once regarded as far and away Hollywood’s best looking man, Ryan O’Neal has proved a perfect embodiment of Shakespeare’s dictum that ‘all that glisters is not gold’.

 The actor, whose own mother became addicted to painkillers she took for migraines, got married for the first time in 1963, to the beautiful actress Joanna Moore. It lasted only three years but produced Tatum, now 56, and her younger brother Griffin.  

Tatum was two when her manic, pill-popping, alcoholic mother moved her and her brother to a decrepit ranch. ‘[She] virtually abandoned me and Griffin, leaving us in squalor — starving, shoeless and ragged, as well as beaten and abused by the men in her life,’ Tatum has said.

‘My mother had a 16-year-old boyfriend who beat us with switches cut from the fig tree. We were locked in the garage so long that we ate dog food to quell our hunger. We were unsupervised and wild.’

Tatum first got drunk aged six and passed out in the bathroom. By then, she says, she had already been sexually molested twice.

‘I think their fame gave them a sort of permission to deny their role as parents,’ Tatum once said.

When her mother — who died of cancer 23 years ago — was arrested for drink-driving in 1970, the children went to live with Ryan.

Unfortunately, he had just shot to mega-stardom with Love Story, the tearjerker romantic drama with Ali MacGraw, and, as he put it: ‘I didn’t take anybody with me; I went alone.’ He had little time for children, and packed his off to boarding school where Tatum got into trouble for compulsive stealing.

Tatum has said her father continually tried to humiliate her as a child and she attempted suicide three times, but he has insisted this wasn't true. Pictured Ryan with Tatum as a baby

Tatum has said her father continually tried to humiliate her as a child and she attempted suicide three times, but he has insisted this wasn't true. Pictured Ryan with Tatum as a baby

Tatum has said her father continually tried to humiliate her as a child and she attempted suicide three times, but he has insisted this wasn’t true. Pictured Ryan with Tatum as a baby

 But when her father heard of a film script calling for a little girl, he pushed his daughter to audition and she won the role.

Paper Moon — in which Ryan played a conman who takes on the feisty orphaned daughter of a prostitute, played by Tatum — earned her a Best Supporting Actress award. She remains the youngest winner in Oscars history but, astonishingly, neither of her parents attended the ceremony.

Tatum has agreed with those who said her father was jealous, adding he was also ‘really selfish’.

Ryan, who had received a Best Actor nomination but no gong for Love Story, has agreed her sudden stardom created resentment in the family, saying: ‘Everybody hated everybody because of that Academy Award.’

Tatum says she felt enormous pressure to repeat it, but never did, although at 11 she became the highest paid child actor ever, earning $350,000 for The Bad News Bears.

In her teens, she starred in horse drama International Velvet (losing her virginity aged 14 to a stuntman on the set in Britain) and later posed topless, aged 16, in Circle Of Two with Richard Burton. Her adult career was fairly forgettable but by then she was in thrall to drugs.

She has claimed her father wanted nothing more to do with her once she hit puberty, and she lived for months at a time at the family home of one of her best friends, Vivian Kubrick, daughter of film director Stanley.

Tatum’s brother Griffin claims their father made him try cocaine when he was just 11. Ryan has insisted he didn’t. Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Tatum’s son Kevin said Ryan once urged his mother to use cocaine to lose weight.

Tatum has confirmed she was smoking cannabis at 12 (the same age, she says, at which she was molested by her father’s drug dealer) and regularly taking cocaine by 15.

She has said her father continually tried to humiliate her as a child and she attempted suicide three times, but he has insisted this wasn’t true.

Ryan has also disputed her claims that she started taking drugs and drinking so young, saying: ‘This is not true. Eleven years, nine years old. She’s crazy. Why would she say that about herself like that?

‘I never saw her do a drug, I never saw her get drunk, I never saw her smoke or do anything.’

He told CNN: ‘She had a wonderful childhood. She met Queen Elizabeth. She travelled the world. She was a millionairess by the time she was 12.’ In the same interview, he admitted he had a temper but claimed his ‘wild’ children provoked him. (Tatum has admitted she too has a temper.)

Ryan insisted it was Tatum who deserted him, partly out of jealousy that Fawcett was monopolising his attention. He said: ‘She has made my life hard. And Farrah’s. Because I was never complete again when she left.’

Ryan has conceded he was a ‘hopeless father’, weakly complaining he was never ‘trained’ for the role.

He spent much of his time being a world-class womaniser, with lovers reportedly including Diana Ross, Anjelica Huston, Bianca Jagger, Ursula Andress, Cher and much to Tatum’s horror, her friend Melanie Griffith.

Tatum complained that her father made no attempt to be discreet and she often had to listen to their lovemaking.

In her shocking 2004 memoir, A Paper Life, she claimed she often slept in her father’s bed, even when he had women over. That included the time when, aged 12 or 13, she and Griffith, then 18, went to Paris with Ryan and she caught her friend and father in bed together.

Tatum has also claimed her hot-tempered father — who is a trained boxer — frequently hit his children, alleging he ‘socked’ her when she won an Oscar and again when The Bad News Bears beat his latest film at the box office. Ryan has admitted he fought with Fawcett but has never commented on claims he hit his children.

He dismissed Tatum’s book, saying: ‘It is a sad day when malicious lies are told in order to become a best seller.’

Ryan had two more children —Patrick by his second wife, actress Leigh Taylor-Young, and Redmond with Fawcett (whom he seduced despite her being married to his friend Lee Majors).

The pin-up pair — who have been described as the Brad and Angelina of their day — had a stormy relationship from 1979 until 1997, when she discovered him in bed with a much younger actress.

They reunited in 2001 after Ryan was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Tatum was 16 when Ryan left her and her brother to move in with Farrah Fawcett, and then saw him only periodically. She went out with Michael Jackson in her teens but married tennis star John McEnroe in 1986, aged 22.

They had three children, Kevin, Sean and Emily, but, in a depressing repetition of her own early years, their marriage collapsed acrimoniously in 1994 and, due to Tatum’s addictions, McEnroe was awarded custody of the children.

Kevin has recalled how his mother got a boyfriend and started on heroin, her weight dropping to just 6 st. In 2008, her life hit its lowest point when she was arrested in a Manhattan street buying crack cocaine.

Six years later, her son Kevin was arrested in almost the same place as he bought six bags of cocaine (which turned out to be baking powder) and dozens of prescription pills. He later admitted he had started taking drugs at 11 — much like Mum. Griffin and Redmond, have also struggled with addiction and served jail time.

Tatum, who in 2015 revealed she was now ‘mostly dating women’, claims she made repeated attempts to reconcile with her father, only for him to let her down. (At their last reunion in 2003, Ryan was reportedly ‘horrible’ to her and she cried all night.)

But they started to repair their shattered relationship in 2011 after Fawcett’s death, letting cameras record it in a reality TV series, Ryan And Tatum: The O’Neals.

‘He told me he’s sorry,’ she said of Ryan, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. ‘He’s all I have in terms of family, and I needed him in my life.’

Even so, given last weekend’s get-together was the first for 17 years, it doesn’t sound like the O’Neals have suddenly become The Waltons.

Only five years ago Ryan ranted about Tatum on an Irish TV show: ‘I’m mad at her. She just irritates me. I don’t hate her . . . but life is a lot easier when Tatum isn’t around. She’s a devil.’

This is one love story that may still have a few more plot twists.

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